Chinese authorities have blocked Apple's iTunes Music Store, apparently because 'more than 40' athletes have listened to protest songs by bands such as Rush and Alanis Morissette.
US-based Tibetan activist group The Art of Peace Foundation invited Olympic athletes to download the album ‘Songs for Tibet' free of charge. The Foundation claimed that this mark of protest would communicate that "compassion and non-violence can overcome intolerance and oppression - beautiful ideals to be associated with the Olympic spirit".
The Chinese government's Information Office reported that "angry netizens" were "rallying together to denounce Apple in offering ‘Songs for Tibet' for purchase".
"The predictably hostile response to the album from Chinese internet users, as reported by an official Chinese media outlet, reflects continued attempts to suppress any support for Tibet at a time of crisis for the Tibetan people, as well as the level of entrenched misinformation about Tibet propagated by the Beijing government among the Chinese public," Kate Saunders of the International Campaign for Tibet told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The newspaper also reports a response from Apple claimed by a local blogger. She claims that Apple's customer support sent her the following message:
"iTunes is not being blocked in China from our end, but access to the iTunes Store IS restricted in some areas in China. This would also explain why it's happening to your friends there as well. I would advise that you contact your ISP about this matter. Please also note though that accessing the US iTunes Store outside of the geographic region of the United States is not supported, and that attempting to access it while in China is at your own risk."