Apple has long been seen as a leader in the provision of access to the internet and as a champion of privacy and security, stating “Privacy is a fundamental human right.”
In reality, Apple enables the Chinese government’s surveillance and censorship of citizens, as well as denying people living under China’s rule access to a free and open internet.
At the request of the government of China, Apple has removed 1,000+ “virtual private networks” (VPNs) from the App Store in China, in addition to news media apps like The New York Times and Quartz.
VPNs not only allow access to information but they provide critical, safe communication channels for Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Chinese dissidents and human rights defenders working to secure basic rights and freedoms.
In October 2019, Apple removed HKmap.live; a crowdsourcing app being used by Hong Kong residents, journalists, and tourists to see where protests and police build-up are happening to allow areas to be avoided and to stay safe.
China is engaged in escalating attacks on human rights across all areas under its rule; backing the violent repression Hong Kong democracy protests, detaining at least one million Uyghur muslims in East Turkestan, inflicting widespread human rights violations in occupied Tibet, and arresting people in China who speak out about the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
As consumers, concerned citizens, and members of communities in the direct line of fire, we demand Apple drop China’s censorship act and commit to upholding human dignity and political freedom.