Hong Kong has endured nearly four months of protests that were ignited by a now-scrapped plan to allow extraditions of criminal suspects to the mainland.They snowballed into a movement calling for more democratic freedoms and police accountability, in the biggest challenge to China’s rule of Hong Kong since its handover from the British in 1997.
Chinese state media has repeatedly warned foreign firms against speaking out or taking any actions to support the protesters, warning it could cost them access to China’s market of 1.4 billion people.
Tech giant Apple, which has a huge presence in China, on Wednesday became the latest target.
An opinion piece in the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, slammed a transport app available on Apple’s store that it alleged helped protesters identify police in Hong Kong. “Apple’s approval for the app obviously helps rioters,” the article said. “Does this mean Apple intended to be an accomplice to the rioters?” The article then cautioned that: “The map app is just the tip of the iceberg”, alleging a song supporting Hong Kong independence had also appeared on its music store.
“Nobody wants to drag Apple into the lingering unrest in Hong Kong. But people have reason to assume that Apple is mixing business with politics, and even illegal acts,” it said. “Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision.”
MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s only “unwise and reckless decision” was Tim Cook’s for putting too many eggs in the Chinese basket and leaving them there for too long. Yes, we understand why it was done. Yes, it helped to save Apple. But, the move to diversify production worldwide in order to mitigate risk should have begun more urgently earlier. Apple needs to continue and step up their work to liberate themselves from communist China’s threats.