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An album of protest songs compiled by a US-based Tibetan activist group and downloaded by Olympic athletes has led Chinese authorities to raise its 'Great Firewall'
Apple's iTunes music store has been blocked in China, allegedly due to some athletes listening to protest songs.\n\nIt started with Songs for Tibet, a compilation produced by the Art of Peace Foundation, a US-based Tibetan activist group. The Foundation invited Olympic athletes to download the album free of charge. By listening in Beijing, the activist group said, athletes would communicate that "compassion and non-violence can overcome intolerance and oppression - beautiful ideals to be associated with the Olympic spirit".\n\n
More than 40 athletes downloaded the album, according to a press release, which includes songs by Sting, Rush, Damien Rice, Underworld and Alanis Morissette.
Beginning on Monday, iTunes users in China found that the software wasn't working. Whereas they were previously able to download songs from the US-based online store, attempts now resulted in errors. Support forums filled with complaints, with reports that Apple had washed its hands of responsibility – saying that the store was being blocked by Chinese internet providers and the so-called "Great Firewall of China".\n\nOn china.org.cn, an internet portal managed by the Chinese government's Information Office of the State Council, an article reported that "angry netizens" were "rallying together to denounce Apple in offering Songs for Tibet for purchase". Some of these "netizens", the article said, wished to ban any of the album's performers from entering China.