Reuters had claimed that Apple’s decision to sell the newly-released compilation, ‘Songs for Tibet’ caused Chinese internet police to pull the plug on iTunes access in the country – though Chinese music fans can’t actually buy music from foreign-based music stores.
The Songs for Tibet album features 20 tracks from a range of artists, including Moby and Alanis Morissette. What’s apparently caused access to be blocked was that at least 40 athletes in the Olympic village had downloaded the music to play on their iPods in support of the campaign to Free Tibet.
An Apple tech support email said: "iTunes is not being blocked in China from our end, but access to the iTunes Store IS restricted in some areas in China."
There was some controversy over the accuracy of these reports, with a certain someone’s Computerworld blog explaining some of this.
"Although the timing is bad and the profile of this particular album is high, it is hard to believe the Chinese would single out iTunes as a means of spreading propaganda at this time. You’ve been able to download tons of musicians’ pro-Tibet work for years, including everyone from the Beastie Boys to Pavarotti," the Computerworld report noted.
Now, according to forum posts there, here, and the Music 2.0 blog, access to iTunes from China has been restored, though an international message in support of human rights in Tibet has also been made.