Apple is often criticized for staying silent on China’s human rights violations and for complying with the government’s authoritarian demands to remove apps from China App Store. Once again, Cupertino tech giant has given in to the Chinese government’s request by removing a religious ‘Quran Majeed’ app that has almost a million users in China.
Although the Chinese Communist Party recognizes Islam as a religion in the country, Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province are facing ethnic cleansing and are forced into labor. And Apple has turned a blind eye towards that. So much so that the China App Store hosts apps from a blacklisted Chinese paramilitary group responsible for the Uyghur Muslims genocide in Xinjiang, China. This group is sanctioned by the U.S for human rights violations.
Apple is asked to do the right thing in China
BBC reports that the app’s removal was spotted by Apple Censorship, an apps monitoring website on Apple’s App Store worldwide. App’s developer PDMS shared that China App Store removed the ‘Quran Majeed’ app because it hosted illegal content, “According to Apple, our app Quran Majeed has been removed from the China App Store because it includes content that is illegal.”
China is one of the biggest markets for the iPhone maker; the new iPhone 13 series pre-orders crossed over 5 million only after a couple of days of going Live. In addition, the tech giant’s manufacturing operations rely heavily on China. For these reasons, the tech giant chooses to comply with the government’s oppressive requests, and its Human Rights policy 2020 failed to hold international human rights violators accountable.
The project director at Apple Censorship, Benjamin Ismail, believes it’s time for the Cupertino tech giant to take a stand and do the right thing. He said, “Currently Apple is being turned into the censorship bureau of Beijing. They need to do the right thing, and then face whatever the reaction is of the Chinese government.”
He was referring to Microsoft which has pulled the plug on its social network app, LinkedIn in China because to “comply with the Chinese state had become increasingly challenging.” The company was reportedly questioned over blocking profiles of some journalists.