It's easy to understand how a casual observer could mistakenly believe that the iPhone, iTunes, and a full offering of technologies from Apple have now found a home in China much they way they've been lovingly adopted elsewhere in the world. But as we recall China's restrictive use of the internet and a variety of digital media, it's a sobering reminder that Apple products can't be as freely experienced and enjoyed in China as they are in many other places.
Consequently, as emerging technologies clash with the staunch policies of the Chinese government, this week, China received what amounts to a verbal slap on the wrist by the World Trade Organization, which determined that China is prohibiting free trade by obligating foreign suppliers to turn over media to state-owned companies, a process that effectively blocks services like iTunes.
From this morning's Wall Street Journal:
China's Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday it regrets the World Trade Organization's decision to reject China's appeal over the WTO's August ruling against Chinese restrictions on the distribution of Hollywood movies and other Western media.
"China has conscientiously carried out its obligations under WTO rules in terms of access to the publishing market since its entry into the WTO," Yao Jian, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a statement posted on the ministry's Web site.
Will Chinese officials ultimately stand aside and let iTunes breathe freely in their homeland? I wouldn't count on it. Ever since last year's decision by the Chinese government to briefly restrict access to iTunes in light of the release of the album "Songs for Tibet - The Art of Peace," there is no reason to believe that China will continue to do anything but block the technologies and media that they simply don't want their citizens to obtain.
Image via MobileWhack