Apple’s App Store Censorship in China is ‘Disturbing’: FCC Commissioner

A top Federal Communications Commission (FCC) official has expressed concern over Apple’s censorship apparently to appease the Chinese Communist Party.

Brendon Carr, the FCC commissioner, recently told NTD, an affiliate of The Epoch Times, that he is concerned about Apple’s App Store repeatedly blocking the Voice of America app in China, which he believes was done to placate the Chinese regime.

“I think it’s quite ironic for him [Tim Cook] to come to Washington, D.C., and give that speech,” the commissioner told NTD, “while at the same time Apple’s conduct in China shows that they are actually doing the bidding of the communist regime. And so, I think that’s quite disturbing.”

On April 12, Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered a keynote speech at the Global Privacy Summit in Washington, hosted by the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Cook highlighted Apple’s commitment to “protecting people from a data industrial complex built on a foundation of surveillance.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 21, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

For decades, Carr said, large global corporations like Apple preach about human rights values, yet they compromise those values when they stand “shoulder to shoulder with genocidal regimes like Communist China.”

“I think it’s bad enough if you’re going to be doing business with a regime that the U.S. State Department has said is committing crimes against humanity,” he said.

The State Department in 2021 declared that the Chinese communist regime is committing genocide and crimes against humanity through its wide-scale repression of Uyghurs in the western region of Xinjiang, including in its use of internment camps and forced sterilization. This designation has been affirmed by several Western parliaments and an independent people’s tribunal.

“It’s time for us to fundamentally rethink our relationship with China, whether it’s the App Store or even the deep manufacturing ties that places like Apple have,” Carr said.

The FCC commissioner sent a letter to Cook on April 20, in which he criticized Apple for continuing “its well documented campaign in Beijing of aggressively censoring apps” at the direction of the Chinese Communist Party. His accusations also included Apple’s decisions to remove Quran and Bible apps.

Carr in the letter cited comments by the Asia director for Amnesty International: “Apple has become a cog in the censorship machine that presents a government-controlled version of the internet … If you look at the behavior of the Chinese government, you don’t see any resistance from Apple—no history of standing up for the principles that Apple claims to be so attached to.”

Frank Yue


Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.

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