Apple's App Store has been named as one of a collection of app stores and websites that have been investigated for providing pornography in China, says the Wall Street Journal
. The list appears in a new article from the state-run Chinese People's Daily
. The investigation
of the App Store is unusual though, as Apple maintains an anti-pornography policy, and in the West the company has sometimes been criticized as too strict.
The attention could be linked to two factors. In March the Chinese government launched a revived campaign against pornography, which is officially banned but has proved impossible to block completely. Later in the month one regulator called the App Store a source of "obscene pornographic" content, and ordered Apple to remove the content, submit a report, and take steps to prevent future issues. Around the same time, the state Xinhua
news agency ran a series of complaints from the Chinese public about pornographic e-books sold via Apple.
In some cases the government will use anti-porn campaigns as an excuse to target political threats. Apple has come under heavy fire from state media lately, not only over pornography but also its warranty practices, which prompted a response from CEO Tim Cook
. It's unknown if the Chinese government is deliberately attacking Apple, or if the company has simply drawn media focus through its growing presence in the country.