US technology giant Apple has removed an anti-censorship application from its Chinese app store on orders from Beijing, the software's developers said Friday. The FreeWeibo app is intended to allows users to read sensitive postings on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, that have been censored and deleted, one of its designers said. Beijing maintains strict controls on the Internet, including a range of technical measures known as the Great Firewall of China, and weibo operators employ ranks of censors to delete contentious comments. California-based Apple blocked Chinese app store users' access to the FreeWeibo app on November 28 following a request by Beijing, said Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), which co-developed the software with Chinese cyber-activists.
Apple sent inspectors to one of its contractor factories in China after the death of an underage worker, it said Friday, vowing to ensure "high standards" were kept to. Supplier Pegatron confirmed that the 15-year-old was among four workers "who died of illness in the second half of the year" in the Shanghai plant, which has about 100,000 employees According to New York-based China Labor Watch, Shi Zhaokun died of pneumonia on October 9 at a Shanghai hospital. He made Apple products at the factory, which demanded employees work for 12 hours each day, the group claimed.