Apple's relationship with China 'extremely alarming', says congressmen

Tim Cook
Tim Cook (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Four congressmen have written to Apple urging it to reassess its business practices in China.
  • An open letter to CEO Tim Cook describes Apple as a "pawn in China's malfeasance".
  • It says Apple is entwined with human rights abuses relating to the storage and use of customer data in the country.

A group of four congressmen has written to Apple CEO Tim Cook urging the company to reassess its business practices in China.

The letter states:

Based on recently reported information, we write to urge Apple to reassess its business practices in China and with the Chinese government.Recently, you have touted your company's prioritization of Apple users' control over their data. However, your company's disingenuous implementation of these rights is striking. Apple users in China have zero protections against the Chinese government's use of their data stored by the company, and instead of working to counter this problematic reality, Apple continues to concede to the Chinese government's demands.

The letter goes on to say that Apple "has entwined itself with the very rights abuses it claims to oppose", describing a "gradual and near-total capitulation to the communist regime in China" regarding the storage of data under the CCP's legal jurisdiction, App Store censorship, and "other areas".

The letter says that Apple should consider its position as "a pawn in China's malfeasance'. It is signed by Congressmen Ken Buck, Scott Fitzgerald, Burgess Owens, and Dan Bishop.

Congressman Buck wrote to Tim Cook very recently regarding reports of Apple suppliers who were caught up in accusations of false labor in the Xinjiang province in China.

Apple directed reporters to a statement given to the New York Times in May which states "We are committed to delivering the same Apple product experience to our customers around the world, including in China. In every country, we set the same high bar for privacy and security that is the hallmark of our products and services, and that we believe every customer should demand. We have never compromised the security of our users or their data in China or anywhere we operate. Many of the assertions in this report are based on incomplete, outdated and inaccurate information."

You can read Apple's full response here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9