SHM is reporting that China has blocked off all access to Apple’s online iTunes Store after they discovered that several Olympic athletes had been purchasing the Songs for Tibet album, a pro-Tibetan album featuring 20 artists including Sting, Moby, Suzanne Vega and Alanis Morissette.
Apple’s responses so far are all blaming the Great Firewall of China. The article goes on to note that Apple just opened its first brick-and-mortar in Beijing on the eve of the Olympic Games, and it is negotiating the release of the iPhone in China for later this year… which would certainly be futzed if China continues to block all access to iTunes from within the country.
China’s propaganda line is typically hilarious:
According to a report published in the semi-official Chinese news portal, china.org.cn, “angry netizens [internet users] are rallying together to denounce Apple in offering Songs for Tibet for purchase. They have also expressed a wish to ban the album’s singers and producers, most notably Sting, John Mayer and Dave Matthews, from entering China.”
The report, published in English, goes on to say that some netizens are even calling for a boycott of Apple products, including the iPhone when it is eventually released in China.
It’ll be interesting to see how Apple reacts here. Steve Jobs is a practical businessman, but he’s also a pro-Tibet Buddhist.