Apple CEO Tim Cook Hopes Apps Pulled From China's App Store Will One Day Return

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Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Wednesday he is optimistic that some apps pulled from China's App Store to comply with regulatory rules will eventually be reinstated (via Reuters). Cook made the comments at the economic Fortune Forum in the southern city of Guangzhou, in the latest stint of his week-long China visit.

Apple CEO Tim Cook at World Internet Conference in Wuzhen (Image: Reuters)

"My hope over time is that some of the things, the couple of things that's been pulled, come back. I have great hope on that and great optimism on that," Cook said, adding that he always tries to find areas to work together and if he gets criticized for that, so be it.

Apple has come in for criticism from local users and rights groups for acceding to government requests that it pull some apps from its Chinese App Store, including VPN services used to gain access to online services banned in China.

During the Forum, Cook also said that he believes strongly in freedoms – a comment that has been interpreted as response to a U.S. democratic senator's remarks on Tuesday that Apple had a moral obligation to promote freedom of expression.

"[T]ech companies must continue to push back on Chinese suppression of free expression," Vermont senator Patrick Leahy told CNBC. Leahy said he believed Apple was in danger of not fulfilling its "obligation to promote free expression and other basic human rights."

In October, senators Leahy and Ted Cruz wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking why the company removed third-party VPN apps from its App Store in China.

Apple responded in a letter, explaining that it had "questioned the legal basis of the request" and had provided formal comments on Chinese cybersecurity law through trade associations. However, Apple stopped short of condemning the Chinese government's censorship, instead telling the senators that "actions are our most powerful statement."

Cook kicked off his China visit on Sunday, at the country's state-run World Internet Conference, which aims to develop an "open" digital economy, despite its regular practice of online censorship and regulation.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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37 months ago
Did he say anything about their pipeline? usually he says something about their pipeline. Its always about their pipeline.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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37 months ago
Brave words from Comrade Cook
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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37 months ago
Perhaps Mr Cook could write an impassioned internal memo to Apple China employees explaining how he stands with them in their quest for freedom, and how the company stands for freedom of expression, diversity and open borders and will do what it can to help achieve these aims.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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37 months ago
He fully knows that it’s not going to happen. Firms like Alibaba will make sure competition from outside platforms will remain uncompetitive. Trump says USA first; China make sure its China only.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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37 months ago
Hey Cook the Coward, why didn't you put your SJW-money where your mouth is and tell China to go pound sand to begin with?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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37 months ago

Hey Cook the Coward, why didn't you put your SJW-money where your mouth is and tell China to go pound sand to begin with?

It is really quite simple. It’s their country. If China wants to make certain apps unavailable then apple has no choice but to comply. The risk of not doing so is that China would block the App Store completely or take other draconian measures.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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