Apple caves in to censorship in China
The US company Apple has blocked the New York Times app in China at the request of the Beijing authorities, a spokeswoman for Iphone Producer announced. The fact that major corporations operating in China are disregarding liberal values has partly to do with the bad example set by many states, commentators criticise.
Major concerns are not charities
Apple's decision to give in to Chinese censorship is hardly surprising but it's still outrageous, writes tagesschau.de:
“It's well known that China systematically combats the principle of free media and free flow of information. And the leadership in Beijing ruthlessly imposes its anti-freedom principles on those who - like Apple - depend on doing business with China. It was clear that Apple would play along and remove the app at the request of the Chinese authorities. After all, it's not a charity or human rights organisation but one of the world's largest commercial conglomerates. It makes billions doing business in China and produces its iPhones there. The ones who shouldn't play along are the foreign governments. Up to now they have given their economic interests priority over most other things. This must change, because China's power and influence are growing - and consistently rolling back Western and liberal values.”
A threat to freedom of expression
Global companies like Apple bear a great responsibility, Dagens Nyheter stresses in view of the withdrawal of the New York Times-App in China:
“Doing business and surviving in an unfree country is one thing, but it's quite another to directly participate in the violation of basic rights. For a long time companies avoided selling their souls. Now it seems to have become harder to resist the temptation. The EU and the US must be careful. Even in democracies technology companies are exposed to political blackmail. This gives companies and dictatorships an excuse, and there is a risk that the standard of freedom on the web will be undermined. There must be a counterweight to the suppression of global press freedom and freedom of expression.”