BEIJING The downloading of music for iPod
players has hit a mysterious glitch in China, stumping scores
of users and raising fears the government has blocked Apple's
iTunes site over pro-Tibet lyrics, analysts said on Thursday.
Since Monday, more than 60 people have posted messages in
an Apple Inc discussion forum complaining that they could not
download songs for use on Apple's iPods.
Their complaints follow the release of The Art of Peace
Foundation's new album "Songs for Tibet", a compilation of
tunes about the rights of ethnic Tibetans in China's
Tibet, which Communist troops entered in 1950, suffered
violent rioting in March, which led to anti-government
demonstrations across Tibetan areas of China, deeply
embarrassing Beijing just months before the Olympic Games.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde
published on Thursday, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the
Dalai Lama, accused Chinese troops of opening fire on
protesters in eastern Tibet on August 18, adding that he had
unconfirmed information that 140 people were killed.
IT analysts in China said on Thursday that Beijing has
probably severed the music selection function of the iTunes
site. China is known for using technology to block Web pages
that contain politically sensitive content.
"The possibility of a block is high, and I'd say it should
be due to a content issue," said Liu Bin, associate director of
the Beijing consulting firm BDA, after he tried to connect to
the iTunes site.
The core URL "seems to be stopped on the China side" but
worked when accessed from abroad, said Danny Levinson, CEO of a
digital direct marketing company in Shanghai.
Apple acknowledged an iTunes access problem on Thursday but
declined to explain. "We've seen the situation but can't offer
any more information," Apple's Beijing publicist Yuna Huang
A flap over an iPod product warranty and questions about a
contractor's treatment of Chinese workers hurt the company's
reputation in China in 2006.
(Reporting by Ralph Jennings; Editing by Valerie Lee)