US satirical news show China Uncensored says that the Apple TV app store has blocked users from accessing it not only in mainland China, but also in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“I totally understand why we’re blocked in mainland China. We’re clearly disrupting the Communist Party’s harmonious propaganda,” said host Chris Chappell in a Tuesday press release.
“But Hong Kong and Taiwan are not supposed to be under Chinese law.”
“Apple approved the China Uncensored Apple TV app in March 2017 for availability in most of the world, but removed it from app stores in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan,” read the press release.
Launched in 2012 on YouTube, the show is now aired on New York-based New Tang Dynasty TV. It offers a comedic spin on news stories from China, and is often critical of the Chinese Communist Party.
Apple has not responded to HKFP’s enquiries.
Potential legal action
China Uncensored added that it had sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, demanding that the tech giant unblock the show from app stores in Hong Kong and Taiwan within 30 days.
“We have retained a public interest attorney who will represent us and is prepared to bring in a major law firm to take legal action,” read the letter.
“Is Apple so scared of the Chinese Communist Party that it would censor China Uncensored in Hong Kong and Taiwan, just in case?” asked Chappell in the press release.
“Or is Apple just confused about which places belong to China and this was all an accident?”
China Uncensored, which is produced by Falun Gong-founded New Tang Dynasty Television, has launched a petition on its website requesting that Apple unblock the app. It received over 5,700 signatures as of Saturday.
In January, Apple also came under fire after removing the New York Times app from its China store. The newspaper’s app remains available in the Hong Kong and Taiwan versions of the store.
Apple is not the only tech company accused of censoring content in China. Microsoft admitted last November that its chat bot filters sensitive topics in the country, while LinkedIn said it blocked Chinese users from viewing sensitive content in the lead-up to the 2014 anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.