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Amazon Removes App for Quran, Bible from Apple Store in China

FILE - People check out the latest iPhone 13 handsets at an Apple Store in Beijing, China, Sept. 28, 2021. Amazon’s audiobook service Audible and phone apps for reading the Quran and Bible have become inaccessible for users in mainland China.

Amazon’s audiobook service, Audible, said Friday it removed its app for reading the Quran and the Bible from the Apple store in mainland China because of government “permit requirements.”

Other Quran and Bible app developers, including Olive Tree Bible Software in the U.S., also said their apps were removed from the store at the government's request.

The removals are among a growing number of examples of the impact of China’s more stringent regulations for internet companies.

The government is expanding its internet enforcement activities beyond the control of online information, making it more difficult to determine the reasons behind the removals.

This year alone, China has taken greater control of algorithms tech companies use to customize content, limited children’s exposure to video games and tried to bolster data privacy restrictions.

The Associated Press reported Friday that Chinese Embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu in Washington declined its request to speak about the removal of specific apps, but that Liu said in a statement that China’s government has “always encouraged and supported the development of the Internet.”

“At the same time, the development of the Internet in China must also comply with Chinese laws and regulations,” Liu added.

Apple declined to comment.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press.