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Apple removes VPN apps from China App Store to comply with government

31 July 2017

Following a crackdown on VPNs by the Chinese government, Apple has removed VPNs from its Chinese App Store. which was used to enable people to bypass censorship in the country.

The notice says that their services and content is illegal in China and therefore will be removed.

Apple has issued a statement regarding last night's removal of "most major" VPN apps from the App Store in China. It added that Chinese users could still access its app on other platforms including Android and Windows. In stark contrast to the western concept of the internet being a conduit for expression, open sharing of ideas, and access to information, the Communist Party of China sees a censored internet as a crucial tool to form public opinion.

On Sunday Yokubaitis, president of VyperVPN developer Golden Frog said its app was also removed from the app store, the New York Times reported.

However, the current Apple App Store purge is now one of the biggest setbacks for the free internet in China's history.

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The tech firm, which sells a huge number of iPhones in China, has occasionally been on the receiving end of Chinese censorship, with its iBooks and iTunes Movies services being shut down past year. "ExpressVPN strongly condemns these measures, which threaten free speech and civil liberties", ExpressVPN wrote on its blog.

"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", the company said.

Two other popular VPN services were forced to stop their services in the country earlier this month, which left even the professionals that require access to the global internet for work, without an alternative.

In 2010, Google made a decision to shut down the censored China branch of its search engine service after it discovered the government had launched cyberattacks to gain entry to human rights activists' Gmail accounts, though it is in negotiations to come back.

Apple removes VPN apps from China App Store to comply with government