Apple reportedly warns developers creating shows for TV+ not to tick off China

Apple reportedly warns developers creating shows for TV+ not to tick off China
There is no denying that China is one of Apple's largest markets. And the company always has to tread lightly in the country to make sure that it doesn't rile up the Chinese government and consumers. The latter has shown that it will stop buying the iPhone and focus on devices from Huawei and other domestic manufacturers to protest what it perceives to be unfair treatment on the part of the U.S.

Earlier this month, Apple pulled an app from the App Store called HKmap Live that revealed crowdsourced locations of police presence and protests against the Chinese government in Hong Kong. Needless to say, this didn't go over well with the Chinese government which wants to control the region which was turned over to it by the British in 1997 with promises of autonomy. But self-rule doesn't fit into the plans of Chinese President Xi Jinping.


After having its app deleted, HKmap Live disseminated a tweet in which it repeated some of Apple's reasoning for banning the app: "Your app contains content - or facilitates, enables, and encourages an activity - that is not legal ... Specifically, the app allowed users to evade law enforcement." However, HKmap Live stated that the company was assuming that those using the app "are lawbreakers and therefore evading law enforcement, which is clearly not the case." Apple reinstated the app after feeling the heat from the Western media. But it seems that Apple is more concerned with what it reads in China's state-run newspaper. After getting blasted in China's People's Daily, Apple reversed course and once again banned the app. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple had received information that the app was being used to "target individual officers for violence."

Apple has a history of giving in to demands from the communist Chinese government


And if that doesn't make it clear which side Apple is on, BuzzFeed reported on Friday that Apple has told those developing television shows for its Apple TV+ streaming video service not to write scenes or include scenarios in their shows that might upset the Chinese government. The report indicates how China's state-run media has been stroking Apple's ego. After removing the HKmap Live app for the second time, one of China's propaganda rags wrote, "Chinese netizens hail Apple’s removal of app that aids HK rioters." That was in the Global Times, which quotes an analyst as saying, "Apple highly values the Chinese market and removing the controversial app is a smart move." The most-read story in the aforementioned People's Daily on Friday was an article headlined "Apple removes app which helped HK rioters elude police."


Remember, Apple is the company that closed off access to iOS and Siri for so long in order to show its independence. This is the company that defied the courts and the FBI by refusing to unlock an alleged terrorist's iPhone. And now, the company is kowtowing to the communist Chinese government for...what? Higher sales of the iPhone in the country? We know that Apple has a humanitarian side because it fights for privacy and is a strong promoter of LGBTQ+ rights. But consider this; in addition to removing HKmap Live, Apple also pulled the Quartz app in China and the Taiwan flag emoji in iOS as well. Quartz is a news app with a focus on the global economy and the Chinese government demanded that Apple remove it from the App Store. Quartz technology editor Mike Murphy wrote in a tweet that "This is presumably because of the excellent work our team in Hong Kong has been doing covering the protests."

Apple obviously tries to avoid playing politics; its response to President Donald Trump's tax on imports from China has been measured. Nor did Apple get involved when Trump made up a story about Apple building "three big plants, beautiful plants" in the U.S. Yet last year, Apple caved to China and decided to store the servers containing Chinese iCloud accounts and the cryptographic keys needed to open them, inside the country. It's almost as though President Xi and his administration know that they have Apple by its short hairs.

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46 Comments

2. Subie

Posts: 2414; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

Like we needed more evidence to show that Apple doesn't have real integrity here.

8. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

This is what I was referring to earlier, Subie.

13. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Most of these companies lack integrity though, if we are being honest. They’ve all done questionable things.

3. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Politics aside, China is the largest smartphone market in the world. No OEM is going to endanger the potential for sales there. That’s just how business goes.

6. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

They shouldn't have invested in a streaming service if few months after starting it they're already limiting the freedom of speech of their creators.

14. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Maherk, agreed. While Apple probably didn’t anticipate such a backlash from the Chinese government, they should have have at least tried paid more attention to the political climate of each country that they were going to have their services in. It would have saved them this headache.

7. cmdacos

Posts: 4302; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

There are several that wont wade into that lucrative market as they dont want to sacrifice their brand or their culture. Google for example explored the ability but listened to their employees and backed out. Apple and others on the other hand bent over at every hurdle to ensure they were able to profit off of the communist regime.

4. Alcyone

Posts: 533; Member since: May 10, 2018

That happens when a company relies to heavily in one region. This could go either way in terms of sales, in my opinion. It'll be a matter of time, but I do believe Apple will need to adapt to a new consumer base and their buying tendencies. Seems mid ranges are the future for sells growth. Apple will be relying on service, and this could open a Pandora's box to unwanted censorship.

5. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

So they hide hundreds of billions off shores, and they manufacture their products strictly in China, and now they're against freedom of speech just to kiss the Chinese government's a$$, then why do they claim to be that they're an American company? They're better off moving their headquarters to China.

15. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

My biggest concern is that people are going to try and include Huawei in a decision that Apple has made due to them not wanting to anger the Chinese government and upset their revenue there, when Huawei is nothing but a pawn in some political BS going on, since it’s yet to proven that they have spying on behalf of the Chinese government. People need to look at these things and take it at face value.

16. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

I know I'll never buy another Apple product. I can forgive a lot of business stuff, but this is just a bit too much for me. I can't wait to see the fanboys spin this one.

9. Venom

Posts: 3778; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Apple has been taken over by the Chinese regime. The whole ordeal with Huawei wasn't political and this right here is proof of that.

10. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

Enough is enough. Yeah, they are a business, and want money and stuff, but you have to draw a line. Boo, Apple.

11. MsPooks

Posts: 206; Member since: Jul 08, 2019

This isn't Christians or Republicans, who are easy to push around, that they're dealing with here. Who cares about principles when money's on the line?

12. alanrock

Posts: 326; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

don't politics where you eat, common sense Lv.1 ...

19. mel0524

Posts: 83; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

@pple = chicken lol

27. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple is about money, don’t ever think anything different.

35. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Facts, Darkk. I think a lot of people here are failing to realize that. They are all about maximizing their profits, as are most companies.

45. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Exactly. This shouldn’t even be a shocker.

20. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

What I don’t understand is why people in this comments section pretend to care at all what Apple does or doesn’t do in/with/for China. It’s not like anyone here commenting really cares what’s going on in China, it’s just platitudes to make oneself feel good.

23. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

You'd need to be an actual human with a degree of empathy to understand.

24. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Got it, offering the equivalent of thoughts and prayers makes one superior.

28. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

I sincerely hope what you post here is an act.

30. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

You’re not going to stop buying products that China either directly or indirectly had a hand in manufacturing, so stop the grandstanding.

32. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

Way to avoid the issue, champ.

33. apple-rulz

Posts: 2198; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

What issue am I avoiding, the same one you’re doing nothing about?

38. whatev

Posts: 2396; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Omg, the way you owned her, it should be illegal :)

40. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

So, you're cool with Apple stifling free speech for money. Ok.

44. whatev

Posts: 2396; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

I’m sorry but I don’t see any lies in what he told you, he owned you flawlessly

21. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 185; Member since: May 29, 2019

Then there will be independent, alternate tech for them to work elsewhere. f**k China and their authoritarian regime (and the big tech cucks who sympathize with the regime).

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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