Apple has drawn further fire for its decision to rip HKmap.live from its app store earlier this month.
In a letter [PDF] to CEO Tim Cook sent on Friday, United States Senators Ron Wyden, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, and Ted Cruz, as well as Congresspeople Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mike Gallagher, and Tim Malinowski called on Apple to reinstate the app.
“In promoting values, as in most things, actions matter far more than words. Apple’s decisions last week to accommodate the Chinese government by taking down HKMaps is deeply concerning,” the septuplet wrote.
“We urge you in the strongest terms to reverse course, to demonstrate that Apple puts values above market access, and to stand with the brave men and women fighting for basic rights and dignity in Hong Kong.”
See: China has Apple by the iPhones
The letter pointed out that Apple has censored over 2,200 apps in China, including removing VPN apps from its Chinese app store two years ago and apps designed to help the Uyghur and Tibetan people.
In removing HKmap.live, Apple claimed the app was being used to endanger law enforcement, an assertion rejected by the senators and congresspeople.
The letter also questioned Apple’s stated intent of being in China, and that it could help change the country for the better.
“We, too, believe that diplomacy and trade can be democratizing forces. But when a repressive government refuses to evolve or, indeed, when it doubles down, cooperation can become complicity,” it stated.
The septuple said the case raised concerns whether Apple and large US corporations would “bow to growing Chinese demands rather than lose access to more than a billion Chinese consumers”.
Apple makes around $3 billion in revenue from China each month.
At the same time, a quintet of US politicians, including Wyden, Rubio, Ocasio-Cortz, Gallagher, and Malinowski, penned a similar letter [PDF] to Blizzard, over the company’s decision to strip Ng Wai Chung of prize money and suspend the player after he expressed support for the Hong Kong protests.
“As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values — like freedom of speech and thought — or give in to Beijing’s demands in order to preserve market access,” the quintet said.
“You have the opportunity to reverse course. We urge you to take it.”
Blizzard is partially owned by Chinese giant Tencent.
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