According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Chinese authorities have blocked access to iTunes for Olympic contenders.

The report suggests that this move was prompted by several athletes buying an album called, yes you've guessed it, Songs for Tibet, which features tunes by Sting, Moby, Suzanne Vega and Alanis Morissette.

The newspaper says that the album was produced by a group called The Art of Peace Foundation and it was released as a download on the iTunes Store on 5 August, which just happened to be days before the start of the Olympics.

But the controversy came about because Olympians were apparently offered the album for free and encouraged to play it during the Games.

And now expat iTunes fans across China are experiencing "technical problems".

According to a report published in the semi-official Chinese news portal,, "angry netizens [internet users] are rallying together to denounce Apple in offering Songs for Tibet for purchase. They have also expressed a wish to ban the album's singers and producers, most notably Sting, John Mayer and Dave Matthews, from entering China".

There is no official line though.

However, bloggers are noting, with some irony, that this move comes just days after Apple opened its first store in China - the first of many, and as the company negotiates the arrival of the iPhone in the oriental nation.