Apple Inc is removing virtual private network (VPN) services from its app store in China, VPN service providers said on Saturday, accusing the U.S. tech giant of bowing to pressure from Beijing to comply with stringent cyberspace regulations.
VPNs allow users to bypass China’s so-called “Great Firewall” aimed at restricting access to overseas sites.
Beijing has shut down dozens of China-based providers and it has been targeting overseas services as it bids to tighten its control over the internet, especially ahead of the Communist Party congress in August.
VPN provider ExpressVPN said on Saturday that it had received a notice from Apple that its software would be removed from the China App Store “because it includes content that is illegal in China”.
“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, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts,” ExpressVPN said in a statement.
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