updated 10:05 am EDT, Thu August 21, 2008
China blocks iTunes
The Chinese government is now blocking access to the iTunes Store as a result of pro-Tibetan content, writes the Sydney Morning Herald. The regime recently learned that Olympic athletes have been downloading an album called Songs for Tibet, with tracks by artists like Moby, Sting and Suzanne Vega. While in support of "peace-related projects" associated with the Dalai Lama, the album is also a form of protest against China's 1950 invasion of Tibet, and its continuing suppression of political and religious freedoms.
The album was deliberately released on iTunes August 5th, three days before the start of the Beijing Olympics, and the compliation's backer -- The Art of Peace Foundation -- has offered free copies to competing athletes, in the hope they will show support. The Chinese government's blocking of iTunes appears to have begun on Monday, when an American organization called Campaign for Tibet claimed that "over 40 Olympic athletes in North America, Europe and even Beijing" had downloaded Songs for Tibet.
China's regime maintains strict controls on Internet access, and currently blocks over 18,000 websites. Other sites, while accessible within the country, may be filtered to remove references to things like the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.