There are two sides to Apple’s China story

“Apple Inc.’s decision to remove VPN apps in China is selling out,” Tim Culpan writes for Bloomberg Gadfly. “Apple Inc.’s decision to remove VPN apps in China is pragmatic.”

“By removing the means by which users skirt the Great Firewall, Apple is actually ‘aiding China’s censorship efforts,’ because it is doing some of the hard work for the government,” Culpan writes. “By removing the means by which users skirt the great firewall, Apple is not really ‘aiding China’s censorship efforts,’ but merely following the law by halting access to unlicensed apps.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, there are two sides to this story, but, regardless, it’s still a bad look for Apple overall.

FYI, as we’re located in the U.S., we use TunnelBear’s VPN service for our Macs, iPhones, and iPads (especially while using public Wi-Fi) which lets you choose from servers located around the world in 20+ countries. TunnelBear offers unlimited data for less than $4.17/month. Importantly, TunnelBear explicitly states, “No logging. TunnelBear does NOT log any activity of users connected to our service. Period.”

Apple issues statement regarding removal of VPN apps from China App Store – July 31, 2017
Apple removes VPN apps from China App Store – July 29, 2017
Apple sets up China data center to meet new cybersecurity rules – July 12, 2017
Analyst: China iPhone sales are pivotal for Apple – June 26, 2017
In bid to improve censorship, China to summon Apple execs to discuss stricter App Store oversight – April 20, 2017
Will Apple CEO Tim Cook stand up to China over App Store censorship? – April 19, 2017
Beijing cyber regulators to summon Apple over live streaming apps – April 19, 2017
Apple goes on charm offensive in China with red iPhones and a visit by CEO Tim Cook – March 24, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook defends globalization, walks tightrope on privacy in rare public speech in China – March 18, 2017
Apple to spend $507 million to set up two more research centers, boost investment in in China – March 17, 2017
Apple removes New York Times apps from App Store in China at behest of Chinese government – January 4, 2017
China dethrones U.S. to become the largest market in the world for iOS App Store revenue – October 20, 2016
Apple to set up second R&D center in China – October 12, 2016
Apple’s first R&D Center in China will develop hardware, employ 500 – September 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook ‘pretty confident’ of soon resuming movie and book sales in China – May 3, 2016
Apple’s biggest China problem: iPhone’s strong encryption – May 2, 2016
The New Yorker: What Apple has to fear from China – April 30, 2016
Carl Icahn out of Apple over worries about China’s ‘dictatorship’ government – April 29, 2016
China could slam door on Apple, says top global risk expert – April 25, 2016
China’s increasing censorship hits Apple, but Apple might punch back – April 22, 2016
China shutters Apple’s online book and movie services – April 22, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook joins Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ board of directors – April 6, 2016


  1. There is no “two sides” for aiding and abetting government censorship for a nation of 1.381 billion: Pipeline “Big Brother” Cook…disgusting.

  2. Actually it’s like one side. Apple is a global country, they will sell stuff to countries like China that are trying to censor internet access and they will sell to countries like Apple’s home country who betray humanity.

    Fortunately Apple also sells their products to those from the free and civilized world.

    1. “… they will sell to countries like Apple’s home country who betray humanity.”

      You never tire of pumping out your sad bullshit, do you Nancy.

      1. Oh I’m more than willing to stop pointing out that the nation has betrayed humanity as soon at that nation stops.
        Meanwhile the Guantanamo on the Bay resort is still open, the search for that weapons of mass destruction program is still on, with the body count of innocents getting higher every day.

        I’d rather be pumping out bullshit than pumping out the hatred that comes out of that country.

            1. I have a total disdain for most politicians most times but I am aware that there will be forces who rise to the task of defending humanity when great evil roams the planet as has been the case for the last decades.

              Now President Emmanuel Macron is leader of one of the world superpowers that you now know as Freedom. It used to be called France but you renamed it Freedom because France opposed the invasion of Iraq and your nation no longer sees any need for freedom as you have embraced the total disregard for the sovereignty of other nations, torture, alternative facts to name a few.

              Now of all the superpowers, i.e. the permanent members of the UN security council (Freedom, Russia, China, the UK, and your nation of course) Freedom is the one that comes closest not only to humanitarian values of the free and civilized world but they actually follow the Human Rights Declaration pretty well. No one is perfect but hey, they don’t torture.

              That makes them a prime target and a threat to the chump who is definitely looking for a fight, hopefully a nuclear one.

              President Emmanuel Macron pulled some great stunts to set the chump’s sights elsewhere, the handshake, which the people of your country gobbled up and the invitation to the Bastille Day celebrations. Those few events pretty well guarantees that while your nation will insult Freedom the way your nation insults everyone it probably will not be invaded, so that gives me a thumbs up.

              What I really like about President Emmanuel Macron is that his centrist approach takes ideas from the left and the right. I know that’s a concept that is beyond the psyche of your nation, that both sides have good ideas, but it’s a valid one that perhaps your nation might see if you ever stop devolving, but I won’t hold my breath.

              He’s a politician so I don’t give him that much credit but he’s been shrewd so far and has done a lot to prevent his nation from being invaded or nuked by your country so it’s a great step forward for Freedom.

  3. Yes… it’s only coincidentally that stopping the sale of “unlicensed” apps aids the Chinese government in it’s effort to control it’s citizens lives.

    1. It’s not coincidental. Censorship is the whole point, and the Chinese Government would admit it. The question is whether Apple can defy Chinese law while continuing to operate within China. I think not.

      If not, then the choice is between pulling the VPN apps and shutting down all of Apple’s production lines for the two or more years it would take to replace them in another country. Are those of you who own Apple stock willing to see it become worthless to defend a principle? If so, I commend you for your courage.

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