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Apple removes VPN apps in China as Beijing doubles down on censorship

Beijing appeared to have doubled down on its crackdown of the internet in China, with news emerging that over the weekend, Apple pulled several virtual private network (VPN) services from the local version of the App store.

Multiple VPN service providers, affected by the decision, slammed the move online, calling it a "dangerous precedent" set by Apple, which governments in other countries may follow.

VPN service providers received notification from Apple on July 29 that their apps were removed from the China App store for including "content that is illegal" in the mainland, according to a screenshot posted by ExpressVPN.

VPNs let users in China bypass the country's famous "Great Firewall" that heavily restricts internet access to foreign sites. It also allows for privacy by hiding browsing activities from internet service providers. Data on, a site that monitors censorship activity in the mainland, showed 167 of the top 1000 domains are blocked in China. Those include YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Instagram among others.

Golden Frog said its VyprVPN service is still accessible in China, despite the app's removal from the App Store. ExpressVPN said users can stay connected to the open...