Apple’s Cook meets China regulator after pulling Hong Kong app

Apple CEO Tim Cook had defended the app removal in the face of criticism for appeasing mainland China, telling Apple workers that ‘this decision best protects our users.’ (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2019

Apple’s Cook meets China regulator after pulling Hong Kong app

  • Apple last week removed from its app store an app that helped Hong Kong protesters track police movements
  • A Chinese state newspaper has sharply criticized Apple for allowing the software

BEIJING: Apple CEO Tim Cook met the chief of China’s market regulator in Beijing on Thursday, the Chinese agency said, a week after the US firm was thrust into the midst of political tensions between the mainland and protesters in Hong Kong.
Apple last week removed from its app store an app that helped Hong Kong protesters track police movements after a Chinese state newspaper sharply criticized it for allowing the software. The company said the app, HKmap.live, was used to target the police.
Cook had defended the removal in the face of criticism for appeasing mainland China, telling Apple workers that “this decision best protects our users.”
China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement on its website that its chief, Xiao Yaqing, and Cook discussed topics including Apple expanding investment in China, consumer rights protection and fulfilling corporate social responsibility. It did not give more details.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
China is a key market for Apple. Apple’s smartphone market share fell to 5.8 percent in the June quarter from 6.4 percent in the same period a year ago, according to research firm Canalys, as China’s homegrown Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. became the dominant smartphone seller.
The meeting also comes days before China holds the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. The event in the past has attracted overseas company executives, foreign diplomats and Chinese government officials.
It was not immediately clear if Cook will be a participant at the conference this year. He last attended the event in 2017.


Chinese TV pulls Arsenal match after Ozil’s Uighur comments

Updated 15 December 2019

Chinese TV pulls Arsenal match after Ozil’s Uighur comments

BEIJING: Chinese state broadcaster CCTV has pulled a game between Arsenal and Manchester City from its program after the Gunners midfielder Mesut Ozil expressed support for Uighurs in Xinjiang.
Ozil, a German of Turkish origin, condemned China’s crackdown on Muslim minorities in the western region in a tweet on Friday, while criticizing Muslim countries for failing to speak up against abuses.
Sunday’s Premier League game in London between Arsenal and Manchester City was initially scheduled to be broadcast live by CCTV’s sports channel shortly after midnight on Monday, according to a schedule published earlier on the league’s official Weibo account.
However, by Sunday CCTV replaced the match on its schedule with a pre-recorded game between Tottenham and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“Qur'ans are being burnt... Mosques are being shut down ... Muslim schools are being banned ... Religious scholars are being killed one by one ... Brothers are forcefully being sent to camps,” Ozil wrote in Turkish on his Twitter account Friday.
“The Muslims are silent. Their voice is not heard,” he wrote on a background of a blue field with a white crescent moon, the flag of what Uighur separatists call East Turkestan.
China has faced growing international condemnation for setting up a vast network of camps in Xinjiang aimed at homogenizing the Uighur population to reflect China’s majority Han culture.
Rights groups and experts say more than one million Uighurs and people of other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities have been rounded up in the camps in the tightly controlled region.
After initially denying the camps existed, China now describes them as vocational schools aimed at dampening the allure of Islamist extremism and violence.
Arsenal on Saturday distanced itself from Ozil’s comments, saying it has “always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.”
Ozil’s comments drew anger online, with some users on Weibo calling for a ban on his games.
Nationalist tabloid Global Times called Ozil’s comments “false” and said in a tweet on Sunday that he had “disappointed Chinese fans and football governing authorities.”
The cancelation prompted further criticism of Ozil, including from Arsenal fans.
“If it hadn’t been for Arsenal’s Ozil making trouble out of nothing, would the broadcast of the entire team’s match have been blocked in China?” one user asked on Sunday.
“(Ozil) published inappropriate comments on foreign social media that would greatly hurt the feelings of Chinese fans,” another user said.
Arsenal is the latest foreign team to face the ire of Chinese broadcasters and audiences due to a player’s political stance.
The NBA in October sparked a backlash in China after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.
In response, CCTV canceled its broadcasts of two NBA pre-season games in China, and the Rockets have been absent from CCTV and Internet giant Tencent’s programming schedule so far this season.