Tech giant Apple has reportedly taken down a Quran app and a Bible app in China, upon receiving a request for the same by Chinese officials. The removal of the apps, known respectively as ‘Quran Majeed’ and ‘Bible App by Olive Tree,’ was first reported by Apple Censorship, an activist website, on Tuesday.
Complying with Local Laws
Following queries by the BBC, the company cited its Human Rights policy, which states that it is required to “comply with local laws,” even though there may arise complex issues where it ends up disagreeing with stakeholders and governments. Apple further added that Chinese officials have accused these apps of having breached laws pertaining to the hosting of illegal religious texts.
One of the two apps, Quran Majeed, has garnered more than five million downloads on the Google Play Store, while Bible App by Olive Tree too, has a little over one million downloads. The developer of the former has confirmed the news of the app’s removal from the App Store in China, and has said that Apple Inc. had advised it to reach out to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).
Trying to Resolve the Issue
The developer, Pakistan Data Management has, through Head of Griwrh Hasan Shafiq Ahmed, said that Apple has told them that their app was taken down in China because it apparently includes content that has been deemed by the CAC to be illegal in the country, something which doesn’t comply with the Reveiw Guidelines of the App Store. They are apparently trying to contact the authority to get the matter resolve, keeping in mind their “close to a million users” in China. They say that they are trusted by “over 35 million Muslims globally.”
Crackdowns on Minorities
This comes as the latest in the efforts by the Chinese government to systematically persecute the minority population of Uyghur Muslims, after news arose in April that the nation was detaining nearly one million people in a prison network. It has even been accused of genocide and other human rights violations against the community in Xinjiang.
The country has also previously attempted to crack down on its Muslim, Buddhist, and Christian populations.
Last month, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s tactical voting app had been removed by both Google and Apple amid the elections in the country. Russian authorities had allegedly threatened to fine them if they didn’t take the apps down.