Apple censors Dalai Lama iPhone apps in China

Apple appears to have blocked iPhone applications related to the Dalai Lama in its China App Store, making it the latest U.S. technology company to censor its services in China.

Those apps, which appear in most countries' versions of the App Store, do not currently appear in the Chinese version. Another app related to Rebiya Kadeer, who like the Dalai Lama is an exiled minority leader reviled by China's authorities, is unavailable in the China App Store as well. The apparent censorship comes after carrier China Unicom launched iPhoneiPhone sales two months ago, making regulatory approval of the phone's contents in the country necessary for the first time. Alles zu iPhone auf

"We continue to comply with local laws," AppleApple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said in an e-mail when asked about the missing apps. "Not all apps are available in every country" Alles zu Apple auf

At least five iPhone apps related to the Dalai Lama are unavailable in the China store. Some of those apps -- named Dalai Quotes, Dalai Lama Quotes and Dalai Lama Prayerwheel -- display inspirational quotes from the Tibetan spiritual leader. Another, Paging Dalai Lama, tells users where he is currently teaching. A fifth app, Nobel Laureates, contains information about Nobel Prize winners including the Dalai Lama.

Test searches done on four out of five iPhones displayed at the Apple Store in Beijing this month returned no results for the term "Dalai." The apps also did not appear for searches done with a computer on iTunes after switching the country selection in the program to China. One of the iPhones at the Apple Store did display the Dalai Lama apps, though it was unclear why.

Chinese officials condemn the Dalai Lama as a dangerous "splittist" seeking to separate Tibet from China, and have called him a "devil with a human face." The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after Chinese troops crushed an uprising in the capital city of Lhasa, solidifying Chinese control there. The religious figure remains widely revered by Tibetans.

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