Apple blocks ethnic minority-related iPhone apps at China’s behest

In the closed garden of the iPhone’s App Store, the powers that be at Apple get to decide what is sold, what is not. Or, the powers that be at Apple, and the Chinese government officials that suggest to them what should be sold and what not.

So Apple has blocked iPhone apps that relate to Tibet, Xinjiang, the Dalai Lama, and Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer in its China-facing App Store. They may be for sale in other countries, but not in the borders of China.

Some of the blocked apps include Dalai Quotes, Dalai Lama Quotes and Dalai Lama Prayerwheel — which 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.

Another blocked app is ‘10 Conditions’, related to Kadeer’s biographical film.

The makers of the apps submitted for them to be included in China’s app store — it is not at their behest that they are not available in China. Nor were the makers informed when their apps were pulled from the China-facing app store.

If you search for ‘Falun Gong’ in China’s app store, you will face an infinite loop of ‘loading … loading … loading” without any search results or even fail screen.