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Unless you read The Daily Mail, which is an English paper published online, you probably didn't know that Chinese President Xi Jinping sent tanks into a major city last night in order to put down protests against his rule. Virtually no American media outlets even acknowledge that that happened, and that's pretty weird if you think about it. Imagine, for example, that Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán put tanks into Budapest to crush his political opponents. Would our media notice? Oh, yeah, they would. It'd be on the front page of The New York Times. "Morning Joe" would lead with it, and keep in mind that Hungary is a very small country. It's got a GDP smaller than South Dakota's.

China, by profound contrast, has the biggest economy in the world. China is our main global rival. It's a highly significant place and yet somehow no one in any newsroom in America noticed when Xi Jinping decided to replay Tiananmen Square. They didn't see it, even though the pictures were on the internet. How is that possible? Could it be that the American news media is covering for the government of China? We can't say. We’ll let you make the call on that.  

We can say, we know for a fact, that Apple is covering for the government of China. Apple is the most valuable company in the world. It's got a current market cap of trillions of dollars. Financial listings describe Apple as an American company. You can see why they do. Apple is headquartered in the United States. It was founded by Americans. To this day, it's run by an American citizen, but those facts don't tell the story. In fact, at this point, Apple is in no sense American. Apple's loyalty is to the government of China and if you think that's an overstatement, consider this. 

Earlier this month, Apple did the bidding of the Chinese government to crush domestic protests against the Communist Party there. Apple did this by disabling its permanent AirDrop feature in China and so far, only in China. It's the only country in which it's disabled. Why did Apple disable that feature in China? Well, because that feature, permanent AirDrop, allows iPhone users to communicate directly with one another without using the internet or cellular networks — both of which in a totalitarian state like China, are controlled by the government and that means that without permanent AirDrop, it's effectively impossible for freedom-minded citizens to organize with one another. They're powerless. 


Protesters in China hold up signs in front of police

Protesters hold up blank papers and chant slogans as they march in Beijing, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Apple, of course, knows this and that's why when iPhone users in China began using permanent AirDrop to complain about the Communist Party, Apple just shut it down. In other words — again, this is not an overstatement — Apple is now an active collaborator with China's murderous police state. When tanks roll into a Chinese city, Apple is rooting for the tanks.  

Well, for a company based outside San Jose, this seems like a big step: Becoming a partner with a Chinese police state? Yes. And yet, once again, this fact received virtually no coverage in the United States. Apple's decision to side with the oppressors over the oppressed, Apple's decision to actively help America's enemies, to hurt ordinary people seeking freedom, just wasn't news in the view of The New York Times — not that you should be surprised by it. Apple has been sucking up to the Communist Party of China for many years. Watch this clip from 2017 of the company's CEO, Tim Cook. 

TIM COOK: China has done an unbelievable job of lifting people out of poverty. They've done an incredible job and far beyond what any country has done. We were talking about 19, mid-90’s to today, the biggest change is the number of people that have been pulled out of poverty by far and we should all applaud that and we should all feel good about it and so there are, and the environmental leadership today, is very clear and it aligns completely with Apple's values.  


QUESTION: The Chinese environmental league, the government? 

COOK: Yes, I mean they're very fixated on doing the right things to avert climate change.  

Oh, a very clever pastiche of half-truths and lies. So, in the first category, it is true that China is far richer than it was 30 years ago. That's indisputable, but what Tim Cook doesn't mention is that much of the money and virtually all of the technology, a large proportion of which was stolen, came from the United States. So, that's a debatable claim at best, but environmental leadership from China? That is not a debatable claim. Tim Cook is telling us in that clip with a straight face that the Chinese government is a model for environmental stewardship. That is completely ludicrous. China is the opposite of that. It's the greatest offender against the environment. China is the biggest polluter in the world by far. 


No country comes close — not just in carbon emissions or building new coal plants, but in plastics, in the ocean, in heavy metals in the ground, polluting the land and the water, China leads the pack. No one's close. That's widely known. So, if you're claiming otherwise, you're just lying, which Tim Cook absolutely is. The question is: Why is he lying? Why does Apple, as a company, and its CEO in that clip and many others feel the need to cover for the Chinese Communist Party? Why does it feel the need to help the Chinese Communist Party oppress its own citizens? Those are good questions. We reached out today to Apple. We wanted to hear their side of the story. We did not hear back. So instead, we will bring you Tim Cook's most recent explanation. This is from last year. Here it is.

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: You've been criticized for not speaking out on human rights issues, for example, in China and in other countries as well. This is something I think a lot of companies that have been doing business in China struggle with. A number of companies, as you know, have abandoned China. How do you think about that?  

COOK: I think that we have a responsibility as a business to do business in as many places as we can, because I think business is this huge catalyst. I believe in what Tom Watson said is world peace through world trade. You have to get your head around when you're operating outside the U.S. and any country in the world that there are different laws and so, that's part of the both the complexity and part of the beauty of the world is that everybody has their own laws and customs.


chinese president

Chinese President Xi Jinping greets the media prior to a meeting of leaders of the BRICS emerging economies at the Itamaraty palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on Nov. 14, 2019.  (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, Pool, File)

There's a reason that guy runs the world's most valuable company. There's talent there. Notice the total lack of defensiveness. The question effectively was, "You're getting rich from business with blood-thirsty dictators." He's not bothered by it. "What we're really doing, Mr. New York Times guy, we're seeking world peace through world trade." World peace through world trade? So, helping the Chinese police state put down peaceful protests with tanks — it's not a sin. It's a virtue. It's a blow for world peace. That was Tim Cook's explanation. In any case, Cook explained, you got to follow the laws of the countries that you operate in. It's that simple. You don't want to break the law.  

Alright. Well, let's continue that standard here. In the United States where Apple is headquartered, free speech is the law. It's the first law. It's the first guarantee in our Bill of Rights and yet, strangely, for a company that claims to respect local customs, Apple has done far more than its share to eliminate free speech in the United States. We can give you many examples. Here's a new one. In the middle of the COVID pandemic, a small video-sharing site called Odysee was trying to get approval to be listed on Apple's App Store. The App Store is one of most powerful things that Apple has. For many people, the app is the portal to the company who's making the app. So, for a startup like Odysee, getting on the App Store was an essential step. Roughly half of the adults in the United States use iPhones, so if you're not on the App Store, you're shafted, but Apple was hesitant to allow Odysee on the App Store. 

Why? Well, because, unlike YouTube, owned by Google, Odysee allowed its users to search for information on the origins of COVID and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Oh, if you used Odysee you might know that the patron of Apple was in fact responsible for the COVID pandemic. Users of Odysee could search for videos challenging also the effectiveness of the COVID vaccines and stopping transmission of the virus. So, to Apple, that kind of free speech, truly free speech, searching for actual answers and not just more propaganda, was totally unacceptable. Apple presented Odysee with a list of nearly two dozen search terms, most related to COVID, that it had to ban if it wanted to join the App Store.  


Your users cannot know this if you want to participate in our monopoly and they have a monopoly, and it's hard to imagine a more serious abuse of monopoly power than what Apple did in that and many other instances. The biggest company in the world banning a video-sharing website, reaching half the country because people might search for accurate information that Apple didn't want them to see because it might offend their sponsors in communist China.  

Well, that's kind of a story, and yet it went completely unreported at the time. We didn't know about it until this week and we learned because Elon Musk, who now owns Twitter, revealed on Twitter that Apple may remove Twitter from the App Store as well, and that would, of course, end Twitter. You don't go to Twitter except through its app. Could that happen? Well, there are signs that it might.  


The executive who runs Apple's App Store, a man called Phil Schiller, just deleted his Twitter account. Well, that's weird. Apple has virtually stopped buying ads on Twitter. That's weird too. So would Apple do this? Well, several tech developers are coming forward to confirm that this is exactly how Apple operates and has for years. When Apple threw the social media company Parler off the App Store — remember that? — because they allowed Donald Trump to speak, you thought it was an anomaly, but it wasn't.  

This is what they do and few people really understood that. In fact, for years, even the most cynical observers assumed that big tech companies like Apple censor speech. Yes, they do, but only in extraordinary circumstances. Oh, no, they do it all the time. In fact, Apple engages in large-scale secretive censorship and always and everywhere Apple helps the Chinese government, so preventing American citizens from saying what they believe or getting to the truth about something while bolstering the power of one of the most repressive governments in the world.


A person holds a banner during a protest in solidarity over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in mainland China. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

A person holds a banner during a protest in solidarity over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in mainland China. REUTERS/Chris Helgren (REUTERS/Chris Helgren)

This summer, for example, an FTC commissioner called Brendan Carr went to Apple about TikTok. TikTok was and is on the App Store. No threat of TikTok being kicked off and the FTC commissioner told Apple that TikTok was likely harvesting private user data from hundreds of millions of Americans and sending those data back to China. Now, Apple must have known that what Carr was telling them was likely true, but Apple ignored him anyway and did nothing. So, step back and consider the priorities, Apple's priorities, that are in stark display here.

Twitter must be silenced because it allows Americans to exercise their birthright, which is free speech, a prerequisite for a free society and a democracy, but TikTok must be protected because the Chinese government uses TikTok as a tool of espionage. That is Apple's position. At this point, the real question is, will Apple be allowed to strangle Twitter, which it could, because it has monopoly power? So far, virtually no one in American politics seems to have noticed this is happening. No one certainly is moving to stop Apple from doing it. In a moment we will speak to the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, who said today he believes that Apple would be abusing its monopoly power if it did that.