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Apple Punished Employee for Approving App That Was Critical of Beijing, Lawsuit Alleges

re: Can Companies Like Apple and Facebook and Google do Business in China Ethically?
re: Apple 2019 Mac Pro: Made in China
re: iPhone: Made in China Gets Interesting

Back in 2017 in Can Companies Like Apple and Facebook and Google do Business in China Ethically?, I raised an issue whose chickens are coming home to roost.

Apple is not and can never be an ethical company so long as it accepts constraints imposed by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), whose human rights abuses rival the ugliest in history.

Apple is not a passive player here, but actively supports the suppression of human rights—see WSJ: Apple Removes Apps That Allowed China Users to Get Around Filters, aiding and abetting the most extreme security apparatus in the world today.

It seems that Apple has institutionalized embracing the CCP, all while pandering to security and privacy concerns here in the USA.

Apple Punished Employee for Approving App That Was Critical of Beijing, Lawsuit Alleges

Dcember 27, 2020

A former Apple employee alleges in a lawsuit that the company punished him for approving an app critical of the Chinese regime, in order to appease Beijing authorities.

The allegations were made by Trieu Pham, a former app reviewer for the tech giant, in a discrimination and wrongful termination suit filed at the Santa Clara, California, Superior Court in December 2019.

In his complaint, Pham states that in 2018, he was criticized by his Apple managers for approving an app by Guo Media because it was “critical of the Chinese government.” Guo Media is a website created by Guo Wengui, a dissident Chinese businessman exiled in the United States and wanted by Beijing on alleged economic crimes, who’s known for making allegations about massive corruption at the highest levels of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership.

The claims illuminate how the tech giant navigates its relationship with the Chinese regime, which notoriously forces Western firms to comply with censorship and surveillance requirements as a condition of market access. Apple relies heavily on the Chinese market, its third-largest market by revenue.

...Apple regularly takes down apps from its App Store in China at the request of Chinese authorities, and also proactively blocks hundreds of apps that are politically sensitive to Beijing, according to an analysis by the Tech Transparency Project, a U.S.-based nonprofit.

Plam alleges that after the app was approved, Chinese authorities contacted Apple and demanded it be removed from the App Store. In response, the company conducted an internal investigation and found that Pham was the reviewer who approved the app, the court complaint stated.

...

WIND: when profits are at risk, everything else gets put down.

The claims are chilling. It should give pause to anyone who actually believes Apple on respecting privacy, let alone human rights.

Why doesn’t Apple have no-compromise written guidelines for human rights that apply worldwide? Including when those guidelines may be compromisedfor business reasons.

There is no courage or merit in espousing privacy rights and human rights in places where those things exist to some degree—this is what Apple does in most of the world. But in highly repressive countries like China run by the CCP, it’s a whole different ballgame.

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