November 04, 2019
Apple must testify to Congress about the corporation’s ties to China in a hearing tomorrow and answer for its actions that curtail free speech, urges international consumer group SumOfUs.
SumOfUs recently launched a global campaign calling on Apple to end its complicity in human rights violations in China, a result of the company complying with the government’s restrictions on freedom of expression.
The consumer group has submitted a proposal to be considered at Apple’s shareholder meeting, which would commit the company to upholding and promoting freedom of expression wherever it operates. However, Apple is attempting to exclude the proposal.
In response to Apple's refusal to testify before congress, Reem Suleiman, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs released the following statement:
“Not only is Tim Cook trying to prevent shareholders from examining Apple’s flimsy rhetoric on freedom of expression, he is also unwilling to discuss it in front of Congress.
“Clearly, Apple does not want to draw attention to its complicity in human rights abuses committed by the government of China. But it is essential that the company is held accountable for the human rights violations it enables.”
Apple’s decision last month to remove HKmap.live from the App Store, in the face of pressure from the government of China, put Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters at further risk of an escalating police crackdown. Apple has also come under fire for removing the Taiwanese flag emoji for iOS users in Hong Kong and Macau, in addition to in mainland China.
Back in 2017, Apple removed over 1,000 virtual private network (VPN) apps from its China App Store, making it essentially impossible for Tibetan, Uyghur, and Chinese rights defenders on the ground to safely communicate information deemed “sensitive” by China. This includes topics involving the Dalai Lama, Tibetan freedom, Uyghur rights, or Tiananmen Square.
View the SumOfUs Apple shareholder proposal here: https://www.sumofus.org/apple-free-expression