Apple has removed Quartz‘s mobile app from the App Store in China after complaints from the Chinese government due to the publication’s ongoing coverage of the Hong Kong protests. Quartz also says its entire website has also been blocked from being accessed in mainland China.
The publication says it received a notice from Apple that the app “includes content that is illegal in China.”
Apple capitulating to the Chinese government is nothing new. The company’s deep business interests in China, which include a majority of its consumer electronics supply chain, mean that in almost all cases, it abides by the country’s censorship policies and its sensitive reactions to any and all criticism of the Chinese government.
Earlier this week, Apple removed the Taiwan flag emoji from iOS 13 for users in Hong Kong and Macau at the request of the Chinese government, which treats any suggestion that Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau should be considered independent entities as an offense to the sovereignty of the People’s Democratic Republic of China… Apple has made numerous other concessions over the years, including removing VPN apps from the Chinese App Store and censoring Hong Kong singers from the Chinese version of Apple Music.
MacDailyNews Take: Again, Tim Cook obviously put too many eggs in the Chinese basket and left 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 obviously have begun earlier and more urgently. Apple needs to continue and step up their work to liberate themselves from communist China’s threats.
The Chinese authoritarians should never forget that Apple products need not be assembled in China.
China is critical for Apple in every way from sales to product assembly, so Apple continues to kowtow to China. With Apple’s strong stance – in other places of the world – on users’ rights and privacy, it’s a bad look for the company and a tough tightrope that Tim Cook is trying to walk. — MacDailyNews, July 29, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook sits on the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ board of directors, has a bust of RFK on his office desk, and likely knows this quote well:
Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited. — Robert F. Kennedy
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean millions don’t die when yet another authoritarian socialist republic implodes. Humans are really bad at learning from history, it seems. They love to repeat tragic mistakes over and over. It’d be funny, were it not for the hundreds of millions of deaths incurred.
As we wrote over a decade ago, “Business models that fly in the face of human nature are doomed to failure.”
Systems of government that fly in the face of human nature are doomed to failure, too.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience has shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. — Thomas Jefferson et al., United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.
— Ellen Hopkins
The Internet treats censorship as a malfunction and routes around it. — John Perry Barlow