Apple has removed applications, from its China specific iTunes store, that are even remotely related to or are about the exiled Buddhist leader Dalai Lama.
Some of the apps removed from the iTunes store were Dalai Quotes, Dalai Lama Quotes and Dalai Lama Prayerwheel that display inspirational quotes and teachings of the great Buddhist monk.
Another app, called Paging Dalai Lama, which showed the place where the Lama was currently preaching and the Nobel Laureates app which showed information on Nobel Prize winners along with that of Dalai Lama, have been removed.
The removal of the apps indicates the extent to which global companies are willing modify their services in order to do business with China. The Chinese authorities incidentally have labeled Dalai Lama as a "dangerous splittist" who wants to split Tibet from China and have also referred to him as a "devil with a human face".
Apple has now joined the ranks of Yahoo and Google who have complied to the whims and wishes of the Chinese government regarding sensitive political issues.
Yahoo had also faced severe criticism when it had provided the Chinese government with journalist Shi Tao’s private email records which had resulted in a 10 year prison term for the journalist.
Is it surprising? Certainly not. Western businesses have learnt how to do business with the leaders of the world's most populous country even if that means ignoring basic human rights. That said it is quite sad that this is happening to Apple. Steve Jobs is a Zen Buddhist and a vegetarian.