The Chinese government has blocked access to Apple's iTunes store, apparently due to athletes listening to Tibetan protest music.

A compilation by the Art of Peace Foundation, an American Tibetan activist group, invited Olympic athletes to download the album for free, hoping they would learn that "compassion and non-violence can overcome intolerance and oppression – beautiful ideas to be associated with the Olympic spirit".

The message seemedironically lost on the Chinese government, because their reaction to the album – which contains music by Sting, Damien Rice and Alanis Morissette – was to block access to the iTunes store from Monday this week, causing anyone who logged in that day to be met with error messages.

'Angry netizens'

According to government-managed China.org.cn, last week a group of "angry netizens" were rallying together to "denounce Apple in offering Songs for Tibet for purchase", as well as expressing a wish to ban the album's singers and producers from entering their country.

Some people, it says, have noweven vowed to boycott all Apple products, including the iPhone, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs has recently been trying hard to introduce to Chinese mobile phone suppliers.