So yesterday the Communist Party of China’s “newspaper” People’s Daily had this to say:
“Providing a gateway for “toxic apps” is hurting the feelings of the Chinese people, twisting the facts of Hong Kong affairs, and against the views and principles of the Chinese people.”
And since obviously the Communist Party of China knows what “all Chinese people” think and feel (and obviously all Chinese people have identical thoughts and feelings), we realize this must be the absolute and ultimate truth.
Now if you thought Tim Cook then reminded China that Apple has gone on the record many times as committed to basic human rights and therefore holds those principles higher than a possible momentary dip in stock price, you are sadly mistaken. No, they actually turned around and right away canned the app. Good to know Apple’s principles hold water until they are told to revise their views by one of the most vicious dictatorships still left on this planet.
This is how Apple tried to justify their caving to the dictatorship’s demands:
“We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place to discover apps. We have learned that an app, HKmap.live, has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong. Many concerned customers in Hong Kong have contacted us about this app and we immediately began investigating it. The app displays police locations and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement. This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store .”
So they are essentially saying “the dictators told us this app was bad and used for illegal stuff so we’re going to take their word for it”. After all, Apple is just sticking to “local laws”, right? Good thing there was no App Store yet in Germany around the time of the Reichskristallnacht. Imagine what local laws would have told them to do there.
I hope the people of Hong Kong remember this when they buy their next phone, tablet, or computer. Obviously, the only thing that really counts is who Apple expects to sell more kit to. But quite obviously this is rather shortsighted. The Communist Party of China once again got its way so they now know they can play Apple when they want. I expect them to make more use of that in the near future. Where will Apple draw the line? Will there be a line?
The NBA only days ago tried to teach the Communist Party of China a different lesson. It would be nice if more western companies and consumers realized we have real power and that we can put that power to use for actual good. I’m confident many less fortunate people would be mighty grateful when they one day realize we had their backs while they were in the struggle to shake off their oppressors, just as we did a long time ago.