Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has said that “companies should have values, just like people do.” He’s right. But it is difficult to champion democratic values while doing business in a country that runs on speech-stifling authoritarianism…
MacDailyNews Take: “Difficult.” As in: blatantly hypocritical.
China is Apple’s third-largest market, and it brings the company $44 billion per year in sales, plus countless ethical headaches. Last week brought several, all surrounding the ongoing anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Apple hid the Taiwanese flag emoji from its keyboard for those tapping away on the island. It booted the news outlet Quartz from the Chinese version of its app store after its aggressive coverage of the unrest. And then there was HKmap.live, an app designed for Hong Kongers to avoid law enforcement amid violent crackdowns. Apple, at first, rejected the app. Then it approved it. Then, finally, it removed it.’
When the United States and its allies made the decision to engage with China, they imagined that economic growth and trade would promote political liberalization and a convergence of values. That hasn’t happened. Instead, there is competition between vastly different sets of values, and China doesn’t hesitate to use the lure of its market to demand fealty to its propaganda line. Apple, the National Basketball Association and other businesses should resist — but they need help. The United States should negotiate not only over soybean purchases and steel quotas but also to protect free speech and other liberties that China would erode.
MacDailyNews Take: China doesn’t have free speech, so it would first have to be instituted in order to be protected.
Good luck with that.
Money changes everything. – Tom Gray