Apple swipes out New York Times from China app store

iPhone maker says it has removed the news organisation's English and Chinese mobile apps from its China app store, in compliance with a request from local authorities to do so.

The New York Times app is no longer accessible on Apple's China app store, following a request from Chinese authorities that the app be removed.

Apple said it complied with the government's request and removed the news organisation's Chinese-language and English-language app on December 23, reported The New York Times,(NYT) which website had been blocked in China since 2012. The government moved to block the online site after the news organisations published several articles detailing the wealth built up by the family of then-Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao.

Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz said in the article: "For some time now, The New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and we have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations.

"As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store," Sainz said. "When this situation changes, the App Store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China."

He did not provide any information on what local laws the app had breached to prompt its removal or whether a court order was issued.

Apps from other global publications such as The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal still were available on Apple App Store in China, according to the NYT article.

The news organisation's Beijing bureau said it had asked Apple to reconsider. Spokesperson Eileen Murphy said: "The request by the Chinese authorities to remove our apps is part of their wider attempt to prevent readers in China from accessing independent news coverage by The New York Times of that country--coverage which is no different from the journalism we do about every other country in the world."

The report noted that the government's request seemed to have been issued under June 2016 rules outlined in China's Provisions on the Administration of Mobile Internet Application Information Services. These stated that apps must not "engage in activities prohibited by laws and regulations such as endangering national security, disrupting social order, and violating the legitimate rights and interests of others". Apps should not publish "prohibited" content, according to the local authority's website.