Apple accedes to China’s despotic demands

The Washington Post Editorial Board:

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, 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


  1. Tim Cook is a spineless embarrassment.

    Tons of talk, no action (except he hops right to it whenever his Chinese masters order him to do something that stifles free speech or infringes human rights).

      1. My advice: STFU with your sanctimonious claptrap if you’re going to kowtow to every single one of Xi Jinping’s socialist dictatorial whims for money. And give back your free speech and human rights awards, you detestable hypocrite!

      2. Sparkles,

        No they don’t have a better idea. They seem to understand that China is a totalitarian regime with no freedoms, then they suggest that Apple has the freedom to confront the regime. It possibly could simply withdraw entirely, at enormous cost (not least to its employees, contractors, and customers inside China), but it cannot accomplish anything by confrontation. The critics expect Apple to bear all those costs, at no cost to themselves, so they can feel good. Talk about virtue signaling and social justice warfare!

        1. I really hope you are not deigning to tell me what I think, asshole. You think you know it all, but you really know nothing.

          If Cook wants the dirty Chinese money so badly (and he obviously does), then he needs to stop making a fool out of himself preaching free speech and human rights when its EASY for him and COSTS HIM NOTHING.

          If he really believed those things, he wouldn’t be pulling apps that Hongkongers use to keep safe or banning media outlets that accurately report on China’s unending human right violations. Cook is a hypocrite’s hypocrite.

          Tim Cook comes off like some 600-pound guy selling a diet plan.

          I’m all for an Apple CEO who isn’t some leftist crusader when it’s CONVENIENT for him and servile wimp who asks “how high, sir?” whenever Jinping tells him to jump. I’m all for an Apple CEO who doesn’t bore the shit out of everyone and who can ship quality software and hardware on time and without glaring, inexcusable bugs. I’m all for an Apple CEO who wants to maximize profits for shareholders and therefore does what he/she has to in China without emptily preaching virtues only where it’s easy and safe to do so.

          Cook has always been a sanctimonious, boring hypocrite. Apple deserves a CEO with some charisma, who brings excitement to the company instead of delivering yawns, empty platitudes, and well-deserved scorn.

          1. Tim Cook didn’t pull those apps. The Chinese Government did that. Nothing that Tim Cook or Apple could have done was going to make them available. The only choice for Cook and Apple was whether every other app on the App Store would also become unavailable. The Chinese Government can easily use the Great Firewall to do that.

            Nothing that Tim Cook or Apple could have done would make life safer for Hongkongers. The apps were going away in any case. The only choice for Cook and Apple was whether their employees were going to become less safe as well.

            It is easy for those of us who have nothing at stake to say that Apple should have made a grand but utterly worthless gesture. The situation is not the same as putting pressure on the feds over immigration policy or on Georgia over its LGBTQ+ policies. Those governments are not (yet) authoritarian regimes and are theoretically open to influence from public pressure. In China, pressure on the government is a good way to get them to do more of whatever you are protesting. Treating the two situations differently isn’t being hypocritical. It is being realistic

          2. Pardon me, Julia, but I suspect that you use dozens of Made in China products every single day out of CONVENIENCE and/or LOW COST. Until you dismount from your ridiculously sanctimonious high horse and admit that you are also complicit in supporting China’s communist regime, your accusations against Ccok will remain both hypocritical and worthless.

  2. I hope each of us that lives in Free countries take a minute to appreciate what we have and those who fought and gave it to us and keep our guard up against those who would put the yoke of despotism back upon us.

  3. Now, Now,,, Don’t be too harsh on woke Social Justice Time Cook and LeBought James and the NBA (Nothing But Assholes), if China was banning and denying transgender people the right to choose the bathroom of their choice, man, look out, Cook, LeBought James and company would have shown their moral backbone to China’s President Xi Jinping and given him something to think about. Yeah, they could have done something similar to what the NBA did to North Carolina and boycotting that state because James LeBought didn’t seem to care and give a rat’s ass who was harmed by performing that action. They so woke!

  4. Apple needs to pull out of China bit, by bit. It took the US about 20 years to ramp up to involving ourselves into Communist China, but “President” Xi is a very hard line Communist, and wants domination of everything, that much is crystal clear.

    This is what happens when Pandora’s box to an evil ideology is let lose – thanks Nixon! Oh, Nixon also created the EPA… don’t get me started. Ah wait, maybe Nixon and his Commi buddies had something in common – more power… but I digress.

    Step 1: Continue moving manufacturing out of China and the supply chain. Tier 1 and 2 supplies need to be sourced by non-Chinese companies in other countries. Takes time but can be done in about 5 years. Apple has the money and ability to make that happen like no one else other than maybe Samsung.

    Step 2: Slowly decrease sales to consumers in China. Tim Cook says “Companies should have values like people.” just explain what those values to me are please? That part was never explained…

    Step 2b: This is difficult to do, and the way Apple “pulls out” of sales to China, is Apple puts no more R&D moving forward into software services for the China market. Let things slowly die, and as a result, sales will slowly fall off, but expansion elsewhere in the world – that covers slowing China sales.

    Getting out over time is the only way in which to ensure Apple – and anyone (LeBron James anyone) does not become a propaganda mouthpiece to an evil ideology and regime.

    Take about 10 years overall, and then China will be such a small part of Apple’s pie, Apple – and others – can tell China to go pound sand and crawl back into their communist cave where they belong.

    Problem is, so many companies worship mammon, and many in leadership have a relative morality belief system, and will cave whenever required… Sad but true.

    1. Bobby, your response is letter-perfect. I remember Nixon and Henry Kissinger opening the gate to Satan’s cage (the Chinese Communist trade window), back around 1974 or so, and as a naive twenty-something-year-old I wondered “what the Hell for?” It would seem that our federal officials from then up to and including Clinton, the Bushes, presumed that granting China most-favored-nation trade status and then (Clinton, in exchange for illicit funding of his re-election campaign in 1996) membership in the WTO—World Trade Organization—would lead to civilized behavior on the part of the Chi-Comms. It never happened. As Bobby listed, the ruthless globalist dominance goal has never faded and has become ever more dangerous as their IP thefts and labor exploitations have enriched and emboldened their leaders and military to where they have no fear of us. Freedoms we think are permanent and a given on the world stage are easily crushed unless we resist any and all attempt to do so.

    1. We do business with China for just one reason: when consumers are given a choice between an American-made product for $1000 and a Chinese-made item of equal or greater quality for $850, they will allow their budget to overrule their nationalism almost every time. That gives manufacturers the “choice” of moving production or going out of business. You want real hypocracy? How about people who buy Chinese products while complaining that American companies aren’t patriotic enough to go out of business to make America Firsters happy.

      I am sure that Apple is diversifying production as fast as it can, but there are no viable alternatives to China that can ramp up to handle 100% of its production overnight. There is no remotely viable new market to replace Chinese consumers if Apple gets ejected from the world’s second-largest market while virtue signaling for American isolationists.

      In the real world, people make trade offs. When a particular course of action has no benefits, but carries significant costs, rational managers do not choose to do that. I’m sure that Tim Cook would love to tell the Chinese Government to STFU, but that would not help anybody and would subject thousands of Apple employees (and tens of thousands of Apple’s contractors’ employees) to unemployment at best and “reeducation,” imprisonment, or death at worst.

      To repeat the question that still hasn’t been answered, what action could Apple take to avoid “kowtowing” that would benefit anybody in any tangible fashion?

  5. either it’s spineless corporate hypocrites on the one side or it’s my dumbass socialist group-think classmates who think they know how to run the USA and let’s start with shutting you the fck up. who are you if not your word. you’re an opportunistic freaking assclown nobody, lebron and mr tim and ilhan and rashida and ayanna and mscortez and al green and nancy and the bunch of you. to half the world i say learn some human history, the history of human beings. our system of government may not be perfect but our constitution and bill of rights is just short of a miracle and worth having some pride parades all to itself. i wish the angels would rake them all up like a pile of leaves. ok, maybe, i’ve had some caffeine.

  6. By the way, MDN, your site sucks worse everyday. Your threats to moderate this forum are empty…witness the hate-filled posts above. And your own hypocrisy defies description. Apple products are made in China. Therefore, you purchase and recommend products made in China and your website advertises products made in China and your whole business mode is based on Made in China…

    Mike drop…

  7. Allow me this opportunity, on behalf of millions of freedom longing Chinese, to call old panda faced Xi a kommie pinko panda faced (no offense meant to pandas) kommie pinko jerk despot. I have many social demerits in China. But none in USA.

    1. Please explain how standing up to the Chinese Government without any power to make them back down helps anybody. Yes, it will satisfy some who have nothing to lose, but who gets any other benefits?

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