Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/30/apple_china/
Apple ejects Dalai Lama from Chinese iTunes
Protects Great firewall of China from 'devil'
iPhone apps based on the teachings of the Dalai Lama don't exist on the Chinese incarnation of iTunes, it has emerged, demonstrating that even Apple has to bend to do business in China.
Given the Chinese government's rejection of the Dalai Lama's authority it's no surprise that his only appearance in the Chinese iTunes store is a passing mention in the Buddhist Glossary. In the UK store there are half a dozen apps presenting his quotes and teachings, but it's hard to imagine an Al Qaeda application lasting long over here given our own government's thoughts on radicalisation.
Comparing the Dalai Lama with Al Qaeda might seem insane, but while we might view the Lama as an intelligent and rather amiable chap with a reasonable argument, the Chinese government has very different ideas.
In covering the lack of Lama applications PC World quotes the Chinese government's opinion of him as a "devil with a human face". Cupertino is obliged to follow local laws if it wants to do business locally (and everyone wants to do business in China) and that means Apples and devils remain segregated.
The approval process for iPhone applications is notoriously secretive, and Apple recently dropped one application for not having enough naked flesh (OK - it was called "Tits and Boobies" and consisted of photographs of birds, which is funny, but cheating, so it's been removed along with its companion "Pussy Lovers").
Refusing applications for political reasons might seem overly compliant, but it's not Apple's fault the Chinese don't like the Dalai Lama.