iTunes Store blocked in China after Olympic athletes found listening to pro-Tibetan protest music

“Access to Apple’s online iTunes Store has been blocked in China after it emerged that Olympic athletes have been downloading and possibly listening to a pro-Tibetan music album in a subtle act of protest against China’s rule over the province,” Stephen Hutcheon reports for The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The album, called Songs for Tibet, was produced by an a group called The Art of Peace Foundation, and features 20 tracks from well-known singers and songwriters including Sting, Moby, Suzanne Vega and Alanis Morissette,” Hutcheon reports.

“It was released as a download on the iTunes Store on August 5 – three days before the start of the Olympics – with the physical CD launched on Tuesday this week,” Hutcheon reports. “The Foundation provided free downloads of the album to Olympic athletes, urging them to play the songs on their iPods during the Games as a show of support.”

Hutcheon reports, “Funds raised from the sale of the album are being used by the non-profit Foundation to support “peace-related projects that are dear to the Dalai Lama”, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader whom China regards as subversive.”

“On Monday, expatriate iTunes users living in China began experiencing technical problems with their previously unfettered access,” Hutcheon reports. “That was the same day the US-based Campaign for Tibet organisation claimed on its website that ‘over 40 Olympic athletes in North America, Europe and even Beijing’ had downloaded the album.”

“A blogger calling herself JeninShanghai has reposted what she says is a reply she received from Apple’s customer support after reporting that she had problems with her US iTunes Store account,” Hutcheon reports. “‘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,’ the response reads.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Songs for Tibet via Apple’s U.S. iTunes Store (US$11.99) is here.


  1. It really amazes me how the Chinese leadership does not realize how stupid things like this make them look. They also CLEARLY do not understand how western media works. If it wasn’t banned, nobody would even know this album exists. The Chinese, by causing the media to report on this, has guaranteed that 100x more people will now check out this album than ever would have otherwise.

  2. Hey Almux – saying “but, but, but the US or Bush or whoever” is not a valid argument. China is a step above North Korea – full of lies, and ruled with an iron hand. Wish Apple built their stuff elsewhere.

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