At the Apple shareholders meeting on Wednesday, voters defeated a proposal critical of the company’s removal of apps at the request of the Chinese government, but the proposal drew a much higher proportion of votes than similar proposals in previous years.
The proposal had called on the iPhone maker to report whether it has “publicly committed to respect freedom of expression as a human right.” Shareholders defeated it, with 59.4% voting against and 40.6% voting in favor.
The proposal highlighted Apple’s 2017 removal of virtual private network apps here from its App Store in China. Such apps allow users to bypass China’s so-called Great Firewall aimed at restricting access to overseas sites.
Apple shareholders have voted down human rights measures related to China in the past. They defeated a 2018 proposal that urged Apple to create a human rights panel to oversee issues such as workplace conditions and censorship in China, with 94.4% of shareholders voting against it.
MacDailyNews Note: In addition, shareholders approved Apple’s existing board of directors, executive pay, and the retention of Ernst & Young as its accounting firm. Shareholders defeated a “proxy access” proposal to allow shareholders to nominate more than one director to Apple’s board, (68.9% against, 31.1% for) and also voted down a measure to tie executive compensation to environmental sustainability metrics (87.9% against, 12.1% for). Apple had opposed both proposals.