A Christian software company has been forced to remove its Bible app from the Apple App Store in China after failing to gain the necessary authorisation from the Chinese government.
The Olive Tree Bible app includes the text of the Bible as well as Bible study tools and reading plans for smart phone and tablet users.
The removal of the Bible app comes as access to both digital and printed Bibles is increasingly restricted across China.
“Olive Tree Bible Software was informed during the App Store review process that we are required to provide a permit demonstrating our authorisation to distribute an app with book or magazine content in mainland China,” said a spokesperson.
“Since we did not have the permit and needed to get our app update approved and out to customers, we removed our Bible app from China's App Store.”
A Quran app was also removed from the App Store at the same time.
In summer 2021 several Christian accounts were removed from WeChat – China’s main social media platform – while Christian search terms such as “Christ”, “Bible” and “Gospel” were also blocked. In early 2021 the Chinese government further restricted the purchase of Bibles from shops and online retailers.