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Apple, Microsoft Bow to Increasing China Censorship: "It's Temporary"

The New York Times reports Skype Vanishes From App Stores in China, Including Apple’s.

For almost a month, Skype, the internet phone call and messaging service, has been unavailable on a number of sites where apps are downloaded in China, including Apple’s app store in the country.

“We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law. Therefore these apps have been removed from the app store in China,” an Apple spokeswoman said Tuesday in an emailed statement responding to questions about Skype’s disappearance from the app store.

While China has long wielded the most sophisticated and comprehensive internet controls in the world, under President Xi Jinping it has upped the ante, squelching most major foreign social networks and messaging apps one at a time.

Earlier this autumn, the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp was hit by blockages in China, becoming the latest in a long line of products to be rendered unusable by Chinese government filters. Others include Gmail, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Telegram and Line.

Beijing appears to have disabled these apps because they generally feature encryption options that make messages harder for the government to monitor.

A Microsoft spokesman said that Skype had been “temporarily removed” from Apple’s store and that the company was “working to reinstate the app as soon as possible.”

To stay in China’s good graces, Apple has taken down apps from its Chinese app store in the past. Last year, it said it had complied with a request from the Chinese authorities to remove apps created by The New York Times from its China app store.

The Great Firewall

Anyone who really believes Chinese censorship is "temporary" has something smelly where brains ought to be.

Does one blame Apple, Microsoft, or China?

Regardless, this is just another example of why talk about China overtaking the US is nothing but hot air.

Yes, the US has serious issues, but the US still has the most open markets and the most open press in the G-10.

By Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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