iFib: Tim Cook Claims Apple Stands Up Against Human Rights Abuses in China

Tim Cook speaks in China
NG HAN GUAN /Getty

During a recent interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed his company’s continued operation in China while failing to address the countries human rights violations. Cook commented on China’s atrocious treatment of people including slave laborers by saying: “that’s part of both the complexity and part of the beauty of the world is everybody has their own laws and customs.”

During a recent interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times DealBook Online Summit, Apple CEO Tim Cook was questioned about his companies continued operation in China, a country with a horrific record of human rights violations. Apple has championed itself as a progressive company that believes in social justice but has remained quiet on the abuses seen in the country.

Tim  “Apple” Cook testifying via TV (Pool/Getty)

Spectators and participants fill Tiananmen Square during 50th anniversary celebration for the founding of the People's Republic of China. The annual National Day holiday takes place on October 1st. (Photo by David Butow/Corbis via Getty Images)

Spectators and participants fill Tiananmen Square during 50th anniversary celebration for the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The annual National Day holiday takes place on October 1st. (Photo by David Butow/Corbis via Getty Images)

Sorkin asked Cook: “You have been criticized for not speaking out on human rights issues, for example, in China and other countries as well. This is something I think a lot of companies that have been doing business in China struggle with and a number of companies, as you know, have abandoned China. How do you think about that?”

Cook replied: “I think that we have a responsibility as a business, to do business in as many places as we can. Because I think business is this huge catalyst, I believe in what Tom Watson said, which is ‘world peace through world trade.’ I have always believed that. And so I think we should be about not, you know, not pulling up the drawbridge/ But we should be about building the bridges. And so I think that’s key for business.”

Cook went on to claim that Apple has complained about some of various human rights issues in China, stating: “And in terms of what we speak up on. We speak up on some privately, we speak up on some publicly, we do it in different ways. And you have to get your head around when you’re operating outside the US in any country in the world, that there are different laws. And so that’s, that’s part of both the complexity and part of the beauty of the world is everybody has their own laws and customs.”

In October, Breitbart News reported that Apple had removed Bible and Quran apps from China’s Apple Store citing Chinese government “permit requirements.”

In May, Breitbart News reported on the various ways that Apple has given in to Chinese censorship and privacy laws:

The Times also alleges that while U.S. regulations prohibit Apple from handing data over to Chinese authorities, storing user data on local Chinese storage creates a loophole allowing it. A Chinese firm named Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD), is actually the legal owner of Apple iCloud customer data in China. Due to this, Chinese authorities can demand access to data from GCBD rather than Apple.

Since 2017, around 55,000 apps have been removed from the Apple App Store in China, according to data provided by Sensor Tower. Some of the apps included foreign news outlets, encrypted messaging apps, gay dating services, and VPNs allowing users to bypass China’s strict internet restrictions.

Listen to the full interview with Cook here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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