The move limits access to one of the few remaining channels for readers in mainland China to read The Times without resorting to special software. The government began blocking The Times’s websites in 2012, after a series of articles on the wealth amassed by the family of Wen Jiabao, who was then prime minister, but it had struggled in recent months to prevent readers from using the Chinese-language app.
Apple removed both the English-language and Chinese-language apps from the app store in China on Dec. 23. Apps from other international publications, including The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, were still available in the app store.
“We have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesman, said of the Times apps. “As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store. When this situation changes, the App Store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China.”
Mr. Sainz declined to comment on what local regulations the Times apps were said to have violated, who had contacted Apple and when, and whether a court order or other legal document had been presented.
China’s main internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, did not respond to faxed questions.
The Times bureau in Beijing said it had not been contacted by the Chinese government about the matter. A Times spokeswoman in New York, Eileen Murphy, said the company had asked Apple to reconsider its decision.
“The request by the Chinese authorities to remove our apps is part of their wider attempt to prevent readers in China from accessing independent news coverage by The New York Times of that country, coverage which is no different from the journalism we do about every other country in the world,” Ms. Murphy said in a statement.