A very critical proposal on Apple’s cooperation with the Chinese government was presented in the annual shareholders’ meeting, especially regarding the removal of some apps from the App Store.
As reported from Reuters, although this proposal did not get enough votes to force Apple into new positions towards China, the pressure from shareholders on this point it is growing day by day.
The proposal invited Apple to publicly acknowledge that it would commit to respect freedom of expression as a human right. In particular, the shareholders who filed this proposal pointed out that Apple removed all VPN apps from the Chinese App Store in 2017, thanks to which users in China could circumvent some government restrictions.
Apple has opposed this proposal by claiming that it already provides a lot of data on removal requests on the App Store. However, it appears that more and more shareholders want it Apple behaves differently towards China, better protecting citizens and human rights. In fact, many believe that these behaviors can undermine the company’s reputation and also have economic consequences in the future.
However, Apple has already committed to providing further details on “all efforts related to freedom of expression as a fundamental human right“. This means that, despite today’s position, Apple is working behind the scenes to offer more information on relations with China.