Senator to Apple: Why are you aiding China’s crackdown on protesters?

(Photo by Keming Tan on Unsplash)

(Photo by Keming Tan on Unsplash)

In an open letter, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., demanded that Apple CEO Tim Cook explain why his company “continues to aid and abet the totalitarian regime” in Beijing “while campaigning against free speech at home.”

Hawley charged Apple’s “continued dependency on Chinese labor not only undermines the interests of the American economy and its workers, but has once again led your company to crack down on speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s behest.”

Noting the protests at the Foxconn iPhone factory and the historic demonstrations against China’s zero-COVID policy, he cited reports that Apple, through a software update, modified the AirDrop function in China to make it more difficult for protestors to evade censorship and surveillance.

“Unconscionable though this decision may be, it is not surprising: under your leadership, Apple has time and again assisted the Chinese Communist Party in surveilling and suppressing the basic human rights of the Chinese people,” Hawley wrote.

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“At the same time, it appears that Apple might be importing this model of speech control to the United States: reports indicate that your company might deplatform Twitter from the App Store as a consequence of the free speech policies implemented by new ownership.”

The senator urged Cook to “take meaningful steps to reduce your dependence on Chinese labor, especially by reshoring production in the United States.”

Hawley asked Cook to respond to the following questions by Dec. 6:

1. Apple has not condemned the treatment of workers who manufacture its products in China, including the physical violence inflicted upon them by Chinese law enforcement in Zhengzhou. When will Apple issue a statement condemning this treatment? And why has it not done so already?

Is Apple more interested in helping China than America?

100% (32 Votes)

0% (0 Votes)

#firefly-poll-container #firefly-poll-results-yes::before { content: “Yes: “; } #firefly-poll-container #firefly-poll-results-no::before { content: “No: “; }

2. Given the Chinese Communist Party’s commitment to a zero-COVID policy, please detail the material risks associated with Apple’s continued dependency on China for the manufacture of its products. How does Apple communicate these risks to its stakeholders?

3. If China were to invade Taiwan, what impact would this have on Apple’s ability to manufacture and sell its products? How does Apple communicate these risks to its stakeholders?

4. Please detail Apple’s plan to diversify its supply chain and production networks, including any plans to expand manufacturing of its products in the United States with American workers.

5. Why did Apple modify the AirDrop feature in China in a manner that makes it more difficult for Chinese protesters to communicate amongst themselves? Please provide all communication between Apple and Chinese Communist Party officials concerning the AirDrop feature in the iOS 16.1.1 update.

Meanwhile, Musk said Wednesday he met with Cook at Apple’s headquarters, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Musk has framed his fight with Apple as a battle for freedom of speech. Some 64% of Twitter users in the U.S. use Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhone or iPad.

The new Twitter owner tweeted a video from his visit in which which he thanked Cook “for taking me around Apple’s beautiful HQ.”

On Tuesday, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis urged Congress to act if Apple follows through on the alleged threat to remove Twitter from its app store.

“That would be a huge, huge mistake, and it would be a really raw exercise of monopolistic power that I think would merit a response from the United States Congress,” he said.

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-5059062" decoding="async" loading="lazy" class="size-full wp-image-5059062" src="https://www.wnd.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/apple-logo-cool-architecture-building-big-technology-computers-iphones-unsplash.jpg" alt="(Photo by Keming Tan on Unsplash)” width=”600″ height=”400″ srcset=”https://www.wnd.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/apple-logo-cool-architecture-building-big-technology-computers-iphones-unsplash.jpg 600w, https://www.wnd.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/apple-logo-cool-architecture-building-big-technology-computers-iphones-unsplash-300×200.jpg 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 600px) 100vw, 600px”>

(Photo by Keming Tan on Unsplash)

DeSantis also referenced reports that Chinese citizens cannot take full advantage of the iPhone AirDrop file-sharing feature.

“Don’t be a vassal of the [Chinese Communist Party] on one hand and then use your corporate power in the United States on the other to suffocate Americans and try to suppress their right to express themselves,” he said.

DeSantis said the move by Apple in China “is obviously providing aid and comfort to the CCP.”

“This zero-COVID policy is draconian, it violates people’s liberties, and it is completely unscientific. And the people of China are right to be able to speak out and protest against what the Chinese Communist Party is doing,” DeSantis said.

“We need these draconian COVID policies to go to the ash heap of history where they belong.”

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