Apple emerges as a villain in China, shutting down iPhone apps that help protesters
With China's communist oligarchs tightening their grip on power as anti-COVID lockdown protests erupt across that country, who should step in to help the detested regime but wokester Apple, one of the most virtue-signally of all companies in the Silicon Valley?
According to a report in Quartz, via Yahoo! Finance:
Anti-government protests flared in several Chinese cities and on college campuses over the weekend. But the country's most widespread show of public dissent in decades will have to manage without a crucial communication tool, because Apple restricted its use in China earlier this month.
AirDrop, the file-sharing feature on iPhones and other Apple devices, has helped protestors in many authoritarian countries evade censorship. That's because AirDrop relies on direct connections between phones, forming a local network of devices that don't need the internet to communicate. People can opt into receiving AirDrops from anyone else with an iPhone nearby.
This isn't their first China rodeo, either. Quartz notes:
Apple has repeatedly helped China control dissent, mostly by removing apps that protestors have used to coordinate, communicate, or gather information. (Quartz's iOS app was removed by Apple, at China's request, at the height of the 2019 protests in Hong Kong.) By hobbling the functionality of AirDrop in China, Apple is once again coming to the government's aid.
So it's not enough for Apple to stay silent, the way all the celebrities with a cash stream coming from China are doing. Apple is actively helping the regime repress the protesters by making apps unavailable to them that are available to everyone else. That's censorship.
Their wan excuse is that soon they will do this to everyone, so there's nothing to see here, move along, but that doesn't hold water. Why they did it now, just as protesters were airdropping each other with messages and gathering in the streets to protest these lockdowns and the terrible things that have come of them? It's all just kind of...coincidental.
What's more, Apple's vow to do this to everyone and not merely Apple's China users rather suggests they plan to import China's repressive censorship of dissidents to America's shores, an act with very bad smell about it.
It seems that the China protesters aren't just up against the evil communists lording it over them and beating them in the streets for the sake of "health." They are also up against Apple, which has proven itself now the regime's faithful ally. Compare and contrast that with tech king Elon Musk's swift move to provide Ukraine with his Starlink services, which was the internet it needed, after the Russian invaders blew their communications systems out, and the contrast couldn't be starker.
And sure enough, Apple is out to "get" Musk, too, on his company policies reducing censorship that are none of their business.
Elon Musk has accused Apple of threatening to remove Twitter from its App Store amid growing tensions between the two companies.
The billionaire entrepreneur, who last month purchased the social media site for $44 billion, also claimed that Apple had 'mostly stopped advertising on Twitter'.
A number of firms have halted promotion on the site over concerns about Musk's content moderation plans.
It's as if they have a pattern of hating and opposing unregulated free speech.
It's linkages like this, between the Chicom oligarchs and old gray men ruling from Beijing and the tech baronies that make legitimate revolutions against bona fide tyrants so hard to win.
Ironically, NeverTrump fanatic Anne Applebaum wrote a memorably good essay a year ago in The Atlantic, called "The Bad Guys are Winning," citing just these kinds of relationships that make ousting hellhole regimes so difficult now. Writing in the magazine controlled by Laurene Jobs, heir to the Apple fortune, Applebaum naturally "forgot" to mention Big Tech in her described interlocking partnerships, but she did note the role of state enterprises and state entities bolstering one another to keep the repression high in each "bad guy" country, keeping their elites safely in place.
Unlike military or political alliances from other times and places, the members of this group don't operate like a bloc, but rather like an agglomeration of companies — call it Autocracy Inc. Their links are cemented not by ideals but by deals — deals designed to take the edge off Western economic boycotts, or to make them personally rich — which is why they can operate across geographical and historical lines.
Well, with Apple's shutdown of its apps to please its Chinese overlords, sometimes it's actual companies, and from the West, who are aiding the regimes in this nasty dynamic.
Meanwhile, their descent into bad-guyism also extends to their manufacturing operations, where protests at iPhone factories are met with brutal crackdowns:
Apple has a lot to answer for as it seeks to sell us iPhones and iPads and Apple Watches with a side of woksterism and hectoring to us on the side.
Let them explain this to an incoming Republican Congress and to China's people once they throw their shackles off.
Image: Screen shot from The Guardian video via YouTube.