China crackdown on Apple store hits holy book apps, Audible

Apple China Removed Apps

Amazon's audiobook service Audible and phone apps for reading the holy books of Islam and Christianity have disappeared from the Apple store in mainland China, the latest examples of the impact of the country's tightened rules for internet firms.

Audible said Friday that it removed its app from the Apple store in mainland China last month “due to permit requirements."

The makers of apps for reading and listening to the Quran and Bible say their apps have also been removed from Apple's China-based store at the government's request.

Apple didn’t return requests for comment Friday. A spokesperson for China's embassy in the U.S. declined to speak about specific app removals but said the Chinese government has “always encouraged and supported the development of the Internet."

“At the same time, the development of the Internet in China must also comply with Chinese laws and regulations," said an emailed statement from Liu Pengyu.

China's government has long sought to control the flow of information online, but is increasingly stepping up its enforcement of the internet sector in other ways, making it hard to determine the causes for a particular app's removal.

Chinese regulators this year have sought to strengthen data privacy restrictions and limit how much time children can play video games. They are also exerting greater control over the algorithms used by tech firms to perso