removed from Apple App Store in China, limiting access to content, a leading digital platform for Christian content, says it has been removed from the Apple App Store in mainland China, reflecting the Chinese government's strict online publishing policies.

The removal limits access to significant events such as the National Day of Prayer livestream, previously with prominent figures such as President Joe Biden, Chris Tomlin and Franklin Graham, the platform announced in a statement.'s mission since its inception in 2016 has been to improve faith and community engagement worldwide. With more than 16 million users, it offers a range of spiritual resources, including daily prayers and Bible stories.

The decision marks a change in China's approach to the prayer app, which operated under more lenient conditions that allowed the app to serve people in China while others were shut down.

“Since the beginning of we have become accustomed to positive relations with China,” said co-founder Michael Lynn. “President Xi allowed the printing of nearly 150 million Bibles a year, and President Trump ensured that Bibles were exempted from Chinese tariffs.”

In response, is looking for alternative methods to reach its Chinese audience, with CEO Steve Gatena inviting President Xi to the National Day of Prayer event in Washington this May.

Apple told The Christian Post that it is obligated to follow the laws of countries in which it operates, including those with which it disagrees. In China, the law requires that applications that primarily function to provide or facilitate access to religious content obtain permissions from regulators to be included in app stores.

Except for China, the app can still be downloaded in all other stores where it was previously available.

In 2022, China enacted regulations that require an online religious information service license for any religious group that wants to spread religious content on the internet. Opponents of the measure, including the rights group Bitter Winterclaims that only “legally established” organizations can obtain these licenses, essentially meaning that only groups that are part of the five authorized religions in China can use the internet to distribute religious content.

According to the English translation of the regulationthose engaged in “online religious information services” must “practice the core socialist values, adhere to the principle of independent self-management of religions in China, adhere to the direction of sinization of religions in China, and actively guide religions to adapt to socialist society .” co-founder Matthew Potter highlighted ongoing efforts to navigate these barriers. He indicated that he will speak with former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination, on Thursday night.

“We are committed to overcoming these barriers to ensure our global community remains connected and supported, especially during significant spiritual observances such as the National Day of Prayer,” Potter said.

The company expresses solidarity with its Chinese members, striving to comply with regulations while supporting its fundamental goals.

This development reflects China's ongoing crackdown on religious content, including the removal of Bible apps and Christian WeChat accounts, as part of broader restrictions on religious practices.

Father Francis Liu of the China Christian Fellowship of Justice tweeted in 2021 that some Christian WeChat accounts, including “Gospel League” and “Life Quarterly”, were no longer available online.

Bible apps were also removed from the App Store, and hard copy Bibles were no longer available for sale online, according to US persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reported then. Bible programs could only be downloaded through the use of a virtual private network.

Another sign of the repression was that bookstores owned by the state-sanctioned churches of the Trimemo increasingly sold books that promoted the thoughts and communist ideology of President Xi.

The five state-sanctioned religious groups in China are the Buddhist Association of China, the Chinese Taoist Association, the Islamic Association of China, the Protestant Patriotic Patriotic Movement and the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. Even the organizations within the five authorized religions are subject to surveillance and restrictions.

In October 2020, internet censorship targeting Christians in China became so severe that even official government-sanctioned Christian groups began using the Chinese Pinyin initials “JD” to replace Chinese characters for “Christ,” China Aid reported at the time.

In 2018, the Chinese government banned the sale of Bibles at online bookstores nationwide to comply with a “white paper” that dictated the implementation of the “core values ​​of socialism.”

Australia's ABC News reported at the time that copies of the Gospels were removed from online retailers following the release of a regime document titled “China's Policy and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief.”

The white paper stated that Chinese religious communities “should adhere to the direction of localization of religion, practice the core values ​​of socialism, develop and expand the good Chinese tradition, and actively explore the religious thought that conforms to China's national circumstances. “


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *