Apple Removes All VPN Apps From Chinese App Store

Apple has made moves to comply with the Chinese government, as this weekend it’s been revealed that the company has pulled nearly all available VPN (virtual private network) apps from the country’s App Store. This marks another example of China‘s attempts to filter and crackdown on internet use within its borders, as VPN apps and services allowed users to get around the country’s strict censorship restrictions, often referred to as the “Great Firewall.” 

ExpressVPN was one of the first affected apps, and its developers revealed the details of Apple’s removal. They wrote that “all major VPN apps” had been pulled from the Chinese App Store, with a notice from Apple stating the reason was because “it includes content that is illegal in China.”

ExpressVPN’s developers wrote:

“We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts. ExpressVPN strongly condemns these measures, which threaten free speech and civil liberties.”
VPNs removed from China App Store. Dismayed Apple sided w/ censorship, but we're committed to keeping you connected:
— ExpressVPN (@expressvpn) July 29, 2017

This marks the latest instance of Apple adjusting its regional policies to comply with Chinese regulations. The Chinese government essentially made VPN services illegal back in January, which is probably a big part of why Apple has yielded to its rules in this case. Earlier this year, Apple also removed the New York Times app from its Chinese App Store after it was found “in violation of local regulations,” while back in 2015 the Apple News app was similarly disabled within the country.

VIA ExpressVPN