Under pressure from Chinese law, a digital Bible company has removed its app from Apple’s app store offerings in China.

“Olive Tree Bible Software was informed during the App Store review process that we are required to provide a permit demonstrating our authorization to distribute an app with book or magazine content in mainland China,” the company told BBC News.

“Since we did not have the permit and needed to get our app update approved and out to customers, we removed our Bible app from China’s App Store,” it said.

Olive Tree Bible Software’s work on digital versions of Bibles dates back decades. Its founder Drew Haninger developed Bible programs for the Palm Pilot and other early mobile devices in the late 1990s. It provides various translations of the Bible as well. The Spokane-based company’s website lists several English-language Catholic editions of the Bible, though it says some versions are not available for purchase.

For years, Christians in China are unable to practise their faith without fear, oppression and retribution. Demolition of churches, church-run buildings and persecution of the faithful is commonplace – forcing the Clergy and Christians to worship in secret. Although Aid to the Church in Need is unable to publicise many of the projects we fund in the Country, the Foundation is supporting the suffering Church in China by funding the training of seminarians and repairing and rebuilding Church structures.