AAPL Stock: 118.03 ( -0.85 )

Printed from

Apple cooperates in censorship of Dalai Lama apps in China

updated 10:10 am EST, Wed December 30, 2009

Deal struck to enter Chinese market

Apple is blocking several iPhone apps related to the Dalai Lama at the Chinese App Store, a company spokeswoman admits. "We continue to comply with local laws," Trudy Muller tells IDG News. "Not all apps are available in every country." The titles are notably available in most other regions. The Chinese government considers the Dalai Lama an enemy, as a result of his advocating freedom for his former homeland of Tibet. The country was invaded by China in 1950 and remains under foreign control.

Some of the censored apps refer specifically to the Buddhist leader, including Dalai Quotes, Dalai Lama Quotes, Paging Dalai Lama and Dalai Lama Prayerwheel. Also blocked however is Nobel Laureates, an app which merely mentions the Dalai Lama as a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Apple's censorship is further noted to extend to an exiled Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer, whom China considers a supporter of separatism and terrorism. A related app called 10 Conditions cannot be found at the Chinese App Store, and developer James Boldiston confirms that the app was originally submitted for all countries.

The creator of Dalai Quotes, James Sugrue, comments that he was likewise never told that his app would be withheld. "I didn't know the app had been pulled, and wasn't informed," says Sugrue. He adds however that "Apple reserve[s] the right to do this sort of thing, and while from a censorship point of view I disagree with this, I can understand why they did."

Apple is believed to have conceded to government demands in order to secure a new market for the iPhone. While most Chinese cannot afford the device, the sheer size of the country ensures that those who do have the money will nevertheless be a large demographic. Over 300,000 iPhones have been sold in association with carrier China Unicom, and at least five times that many are thought to exist on the gray market.

by MacNN Staff



  1. DaveNJ

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Nice, Apple...

    How quickly you can change...

  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hardly surprising

    This is hardly surprising. If I remember right, when Apple's "Think Different" ad campaign went to China (Hong Kong) the Dalai Lama disappeared from the list of those who "Think Different." Think different, but only when there's no repressive government to upset or no money to be lost. A square peg can be forced into a round hole if you've got a big enough hammer.

    Apple is hardly alone. The same is also true of Google's policies in China. All their fashionable Silicon Valley liberal/libertarianism values fly out the window when there's money to be made by aiding and abetting the Great Firewall of China. Don't be evil except when it is profitable. The most that can be said about Apple is that, unlike Google, it doesn't proclaim its corporate virtue as loudly as does Google.

    Hollywood has long followed a similar policy, tweaking their scripts and even editing the final versions to appease those with money or the ability to do nasty things. Hitchcock's 1935 film, The 39 Steps leaves viewers unclear just who its hostile foreign power was at a time when almost all Europeans feared Hitler would start a new world war. Today's Hollywood follows a similarly gutless path. In Tom Clancy's novel The Sum of All Fears, the bad guys are Arab terrorists. In the film "adaptation" they become Neo-n****. The greater an evil, the less courage Hollywood has to attack it.

    The gifted English writer Samuel Johnson got it right when he said, "Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other."

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    but will there be outrage?

    How much bowing to China does a company need to do before outrage sets in? I'm not talking the fake outrage of politicians just trying to get on TV and feeding their money-base (like the idiots holding hearings on Google and Yahoo), but the outrage of the average consumer? For Yahoo still does business in China and is still making money in the US, as is Google.

    But it is a good thing there's an AppStore. Otherwise, China might have trouble keeping Dalai Lama apps off the iPhone.

    As to one app author:

    The creator of Dalai Quotes, James Sugrue, comments that he was likewise never told that his app would be withheld. "I didn't know the app had been pulled, and wasn't informed," says Sugrue. He adds however that "Apple reserve[s] the right to do this sort of thing, and while from a censorship point of view I disagree with this, I can understand why they did."

    It wasn't pulled, as it was never displayed. Oh, and he apparently feels enough empathy with the Dalai Lama that he made an app of his quotes, and he disagrees with the censorship of his app, he 'can understand why they' pulled it?

    There's a Kool-Aid drinker for you. "We must Free Tibet! But let's not press it too much, for it might mean the Chinese won't get an iPhone! My stock portfolio is much more important."

  1. Nobama

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Liberal Hypocrites

    I echo the previous comments.
    I've had many conversations with liberals, and I enjoy quietly finding out how deep their 'convictions' go. It's been twenty years since I became interested in finding out just how shallow they really are, and I have to say that this latest fiasco is par for the course.

    The fraudulent liberal 'environmentalism' cause is a great example. It's popular amongst cowards because there's no enemy (except non-liberal politicians and greedy corporations).

    Every day people of REAL courage are being murdered for their beliefs, while Apple is lauded for removing the mercury in the glass of their computer monitors. How brave.
    China unlawfully imprisons thousands of dissidents, while Apple reduces the packaging volume coming from its Chinese factories by 30%. What heroic valor.

    Yes, liberal love to march triumphantly in the streets of this free nation shouting about "rights" and "tolerance" in complete safety while their perceived enemies are at their jobs supporting their families. How fearless they are.

    Here's an idea:
    Go to someone you know who drives a luxo-barge SUV (Navigator, Suburban, Amada, etc) and ask them if they are concerned about the environment, or consider themselves to be an 'environmentalist'. Don't make mention of the tank they drive, just ask the question.

    I did just that several months ago. Every one of the people I asked replied with a sincere and unequivocal "yes".
    My boss replied with firm conviction, "Oh yes, absolutely!"
    She owns an Escalade.

    Yes, determined, principled liberals are a force to be reckoned with.

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Only Nixon Could Go to China

    Apple's choice is to do business in China, or not. That is the issue. If Apple allowed (perceived) subversive Apps in the Chinese Apple App Store then the Chinese government would take whatever action it deemed necessary.

    It's not just Apple folks, it's the entire world. Everyone condemns China's human rights violations, but almost every nation and corporation does business with China.

    Live a year and try to buy something that isn't made in China - even if you're diligent, chances are a component and/or chemical can be traced back to Chinese origin. I pretty sure that every Apple (and every other PC manufacture) has nearly all of their products made in China. And if you didn't move you're manufacturing to China, well, you're probably no in business anymore.

    We buy it, we support it.

    "The Buck Stops Here", my @$$

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yes, all of you engaging in the little dance of 'self-righteous faux outrage, YOU are the hypocrites.


    Because, while busily chanting condemnation of Apple for 'selling' out and for 'not doing the right thing', you're all enjoying your iPods, iPhones, and Macs.

    Ever look on the back where they are all made?

    'Made in China'

    That's right - so, STFU.

    Plus, Apple has the option to do business in China or not - they chose to do so, and to make sure their devices are available to Chinese customers. As such, I believe that having technologies like iPhones, iPod Touches and Macs available is a first step to allowing individuals to 'Think Different'. Who cares what their gov't says, thinks, or forbids. Sowing the proper seeds is easier when the appropriate tools are available.

    Either way, the fact that there are three times more grey market iPhones testifies to the demand for Chinese consumers to 'Think Different', and the Chinese thinkers already know how to evade the 'Thought Police' in China. I'd rather they have more effective tools, than be deprived of them because of some self-righteous, strategically clueless morons on a commenting forum.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    you're a moron. why? well, because according to you NO liberal has ever gave his life for his country. NO liberal has ever shown courage, ever. ONLY liberals drive SUV's.

    so why don't you stop watching faux news and stop being led about with that nose in your ring and try coming up with an original thought. here's a clue for you pal, it's the right that has made "liberal" a dirty word, and you've bought into lock stock and barrel. i'm a liberal, not an enemy, but to you that's inconceivable.

    ok pumpkin. it's about time for glenn beck. go and listen carefully so you can stay up with what you're supposed to be thinking.

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    is right. it's the whole world. the options are clear, obey the rule of law in the country you're in or don't do business there.

  1. dinga

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How much bowing to west does China need to do?

    Most people in the west don't know the truth about China.

    Tibet is a part of china way before mayflower arrive America. Communist took control of Tibet just like they took control of other region of china.

    China is a mix of 56 nations, tibet is just one of them.

    Dalai Lama represents traditional tibet society with lords and slaves which has nothing to do with freedom but slavery.

    China has been weak and beaten by the west in recent history. Finally, China is rising again. Of course, it is not acceptable to many countries.

  1. FreeRange

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How did so many rettardss get on this site?

    Please, take your sanctimonious rants to Fox.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented