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World News

Apple urged to tackle religious discrimination as China bans another Bible app

by Marcus Jones

The religious freedom charity Open Doors is calling on tech company Apple to speak out against "blatant religious discrimination" after a Bible app was taken down from its Apple Store.

The Olive Tree mobile app allows users to read God's word but it was banned after it failed to provide a permit to distribute in China during the review process.

In recent years, a number of Christian apps have been banned in China as part of the country's crackdown on Christianity.

Dr David Landrum, Director of Advocacy for Open Doors UK & Ireland, said: "This sets a dangerous precedent for religious freedom.  

"Historically, more than any other influence, it is access to the Bible that has enabled religious freedom, which in turn is the foundation for so many other human rights.  

"This is precisely why the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are so implacably opposed to Chinese people having access to it.  

"Although much Apple technology is produced in China, I hope that the company will speak out against this blatant religious discrimination."  

Open Doors claims this ban comes as authorities there are becoming increasingly more hostile to Christians and Muslims.

A source who can't be named for reasons of security said: "Religion is seen as a potential de-stabiliser and certainly not aligned with Chinese socialist ideology. 

"Citizens must 'be directed' rather than allowed freedom of speech or belief. 
"It is as if [President] Xi Jinping believes the time has come to rein-in and realign religions, particularly Islam and Christianity." 

The online sale of Bibles in China was banned in 2018. 

China is number 17 on Open Doors World Watch List, the annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. 


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