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China blocks iTunes access, Tibet album suspected

The government of China has blocked access to the entirety of the iTunes store, and the publishers of a single new Tibet-themed album are claiming responsibility.

The album, Songs for Tibet [iTunes link], is a compilation of music by Sting, Alanis Morissette, Garbage and others, plus a 15-minute lecture by the Dalai Lama. The album is being released by the New York City-based Art of Peace Foundation, whose spokesman Michael Wohl said he believed the album was responsible for the outage, but couldn't prove it.

Wohl said the foundation issued a press release claiming 40 Olympic athletes downloaded the album as a display of solidarity, which he suspects triggered the shutdown.

Apple acknowledged that they are "aware of the log-on problems," but wouldn't say how many customers were affected nor comment further. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which regulates Internet use in China, did not comment either.

[Via the Associated Press.]

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