Apple Removes US Podcast Platform Pockets Casts App from China Store; Another Result of Censorship?

Removing an app from Apple's China Store is nothing new, as in February the popular game Plague Inc had to face the same situation

A New-York based podcasting platform, Pocket Casts, claimed that its app had been taken down from the Apple Inc's app store in China. But it is not clear why the tech giant removed it.

The Pockets Casts ranked 85th most popular in the podcast news app section on Apple's U.S. website. But Apple has deleted it on Wednesday after intervention by Beijing's top internet watchdog, stated the podcast platform.

Censorship in China

 Pocket Casts
Pocket Casts app removed by Apple from China Store Twitter/ @pocketcasts

The removal of Pockets Casts comes amid growing debate over China and freedom of speech after a resurgence of activity by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, angered by CCP's plans to impose new security laws. Separately, U.S.-based Chinese activists said on Thursday that the American video-communication company Zoom temporarily shut an account after the activists organized an event to commemorate the 31st anniversary of China's Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Many people from the U.S. and Hong Kong claimed that they have been kicked out of their Zoom accounts after hosting the online anniversary event of the Tiananmen incident, which has raised an alarm about free speech on the platform. A group of activists known as Humanitarian China said that it had brought in several participants from China, but its paid Zoom account was closed without explanation, one week later.

In Twitter, Pocket Casts said its app "has been removed ... by Apple at the request of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). We were contacted by the CAC through Apple around two days before the app was removed from the store."

Ring a Bell

In February, when the novel Coronavirus started to take control over the world, the Cyberspace Administration of China had removed a popular pandemic simulator Plague Inc from the App Store. The UK-based makers of Plague Inc Ndemic Creations said in a statement earlier that they had been informed that the highly popular game "includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China."

At that time many people raised questions over whether Apple would remove apps from its App Store on the request of governments around the world. It has faced criticism for enabling countries to remove apps according to their norms. In 2019 Apple removed almost 200 apps from the China store. The Chinese authorities also removed a Hong Kong mapping app from the App Store, during the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests last fall.