TaiwanPlus removed from Apple's China App Store, website blocked

11/11/2022 10:36 PM
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Drummers perform at TaiwanPlus’ launch of a cultural program in August. CNA file photo
Drummers perform at TaiwanPlus’ launch of a cultural program in August. CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 11 (CNA) The application of Taiwan government-funded English-language online streaming service TaiwanPlus has been removed from Apple's China App Store, while its website was also blocked in China, the organization's News Center Director Laura Chao (趙元穎) told CNA Friday.

The App Store, Apple's app distribution platform, notified TaiwanPlus on Thursday that its app would be removed from the China App Store because "it includes content that is illegal in China," according to the letter from App Store which TaiwanPlus posted on its social media pages Friday.

It is unclear what content App Store was referring to as "illegal," TaiwanPlus said in a statement.

Speaking to CNA via telephone on Friday evening, Chao said the organization's staff used virtual private network (VPN) services to access the China App Store earlier that day and found out that the TaiwanPlus app was no longer available.

Chao added that the website of TaiwanPlus, which had been available in China before, was also blocked.

The TaiwanPlus website and apps are still available in the rest of the world and will continue to provide impartial news coverage to international audiences based on ethical journalism principles, Chao said.

It is a pity that people residing in China now are not able to access TaiwanPlus services, Chao added.

Asked for a response, Taiwan's Ministry of Culture, which sponsors the TaiwanPlus platform, said that China should be more confident and not be "afraid" of professional media which produces objective news reports.

"What are you afraid of, China?" the ministry said.

TaiwanPlus has upheld professional ethics in journalism and produced and broadcasted high-quality international news and programs, the ministry said.

People in China are welcome to watch TaiwanPlus services via VPN services to circumvent China's "Great Firewall" internet censorship system, the ministry noted.

Since TaiwanPlus was officially launched on Aug. 30 in 2021, access to the platform has been available by downloading apps on iOS, and Android, as well as via social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

President Tsai Ing-wen (center), Premier Su Tseng-chang (second left) and Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (second right) attend TaiwanPlus’ launch as a TV channel in October. CNA file photo
President Tsai Ing-wen (center), Premier Su Tseng-chang (second left) and Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (second right) attend TaiwanPlus’ launch as a TV channel in October. CNA file photo

In October, TaiwanPlus launched its new domestic television channel that day, providing news and programs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

TaiwanPlus provides the latest news about Taiwan and international affairs, as well as reports covering a wide range of topics including culture, tech, nature, and lifestyle, according to its website.

(By Wang Hsin-yu, Chiu Zu-yin and Shih Hsiu-chuan)

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