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Politics

Apple pulls backdoor apps from China store

VPN apps removed as Beijing tightens internet censorship

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  © Reuters

BEIJING -- Apple has halted the sale of apps in China that let internet users bypass the country's censors.

The move to end Chinese customers' access to virtual private network apps comes in the wake of a new cybersecurity law that took effect in June. The law tightens restrictions on online information and virtually bars individuals from using VPNs.

The government's "Great Firewall" prevents people in China from using search and video services by Google, for example. VPNs offered a way around the online blockade.

The VPN apps have been removed from the Chinese iPhone app store. Apple has recently announced plans to set up a cloud computing center in China and the U.S. company appears to willing to abide by Beijing's demands for stricter control over information.

In January, the government issued a notice banning the provision of VPN services without permission from the authorities. Since the cybersecurity law took effect in June, the authorities have reportedly barred companies from providing VPN services to individuals and instructed telecommunications companies to break VPN connections for individuals. Officials have said they have only instructed providers of unauthorized VPN services to cease operations.

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