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Apple told some Apple TV+ show developers not to anger China (buzzfeednews.com)
440 points by jmsflknr on Oct 12, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 229 comments

Apple are beholden to China. Sure, China is a huge market for them but I think the bigger issue is manufacturing: if they piss China off they won’t have anything to sell, anywhere! I’m sure Apple execs know this and I hope they’re quickly planning to reduce, if not remove this dependency.

Can I ask you why you have this particular hope?

Is it because you are a user of apple products and hope that you will continue to do so in the future because you are dependent on them?

Is it because you believe that apple is a good company and you hope for the best for them?

Why should we hope for the best for a company that has made hundreds of billions off of offshoring jobs to an authoritarian country with little regard for investing in manufacturing in America?

The way I see it is that if China decides to squeeze Apple by restricting their production it will be a fair comeuppance for a company that has seen fit to extract billions in wealth from developers through their app store and has sought to turn their commodity hardware into status symbols to extract even more wealth from middle class people who want to feel like they're more than middle class.

If the executives at Apple had any foresight and any interest beyond self interest they would have encouraged domestic production a decade or more ago. Instead we have a situation where people are crying for poor Apple, a company who that has more money than god and who could have used that to create their own supply chain domestically which would have had tremendous benefits for America and the American people.

Instead they have chose to consort and ultimately enable an authoritarian country into a situation where they now pose a legitimate threat both militarily and culturally to America, the albeit flawed but last best hope for freedom in the world.

Think different indeed.

Yeah, this is a super-weird anti-Apple flex. There’s a lot of problems with it, mostly that damn near every tech product is manufactured in China, or using majority components manufactured in China, etc. But here’s the biggest problem I have. China deliberately wanted to focus on this type of manufacturing for decades. You don’t just decide you’re going to manufacture iPhones and then poof in 6 months you’re running world-class operations. It would take untold time and dollars to develop these capabilities in a human workforce in America. What you’re all hopped up about, has literally no chance of happening.

I too have qualms with what is going on in China, but like everything that happens in this life, I’m flipping petrified of how much damage some reactionary american screed might do.

China accepts child labour, and runs ethnic concentration camps. Have you forgotten that standing up for what is right can result in negative personal consequences? Or have Americans gotten so used to consequence-free "protesting" of whatever is the current bogeyman in their safe country? This might be the most spineless and gutless comment I have seen on HN. If you ever wonder how people accept large-scale atrocities, here is the answer. They don't want any disruption to their supply of affordable iPhones.

If this is the most spineless and gutless comment you’ve read on hackernews, then welcome to hackernews and I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the first comment you read here. Jesus, what an overreaction.

Fine, but don't pretend you care about human rights in any context.

Get help. Seriously. I don’t know why you’re keying in on me for making a comment about how Apple can’t just magically relocate millions of jobs to the US as being some kind of bad person. I’m purposefully not discussing the moral side of this, I’m rebutting the parents claim that Apple should just throw money at this and fix it. They can’t.

Your first paragraph was on-point. I'm talking about the second one:

> I too have qualms with what is going on in China, but like everything that happens in this life, I’m flipping petrified of how much damage some reactionary american screed might do.

You make a moral statement about the activities of China, and then you say you're scared of the repercussions of taking any action.

You do realize how much money Apple makes right? They absolutely have the money to run these capabilities in America. They also have enough money they could do it in a timely manner. What they know would happen is the cost to actually manufacture an iPhone would shoot through the roof and they would be left either making less profit to sell the phone at the same price point it always has been, or they will have to dramatically reduce shareholder return. They don't want to do either of those things obviously because right now new iPhone cost around 1000$ and it is probably close to what the market will bare. So their only option would be reduce shareholder return and I think that is the only thing stopping them from moving home. Simply put they would not make as much profit.

Is your argument that their manufacturing costs would increase by less than 30%? Or that you expect Apple to fold as a company?

You state "they absolutely have the money to run these capabilities in America." Apple's published margin on hardware is 30%, so if manufacturing in America increases costs by 30%, Apple no longer makes a profit selling hardware. If manufacturing increases costs by more than 30%, Apple starts losing money selling hardware.

Big numbers are big because Apple is selling many, many, many phones. That also means that adding to the cost of manufacturing by even a small amount per unit immediately chews up a lot of those outrageous profits.

Apple buys iPhones wholesale from CMs (contract manufacturer) like Foxconn, Pegatron, etc for only $250-$350 and sells them for around $799-$1000 retail. The cost of labor (ie, final assembly; aka, manufacturing) in iPhone BOM, often born by CM's, is around $10-$12 per device.

This is spot on. I really enjoyed the point you made how this is karma for robbing App Store developers. I am not sure I understand the cultural threat though. Militarily from a cyber perspective they are certainly a threat.

It's pointless expecting corporations do make those sort of sacrifices, it would be economic suicide.

Didn't pressure work for companies in South Africa? Didn't pressure work for catching dolphins in fish nets? Note I have no idea if those were effective. I was too young to know. I just remember lots of talk about it



It's only economic suicide because people don't expect those "sacrifices". The market doesn't value ethics on its own, it has to be made to value it - by things like public expectations, customer pressure, or regulations.

If a company chooses to heavily invest in a nation with limited freedoms, the suicide started when the decision was made. Not when the consequences start to hurt.

Yep, the idea that companies should be given a free pass to act with utter amorality because they put themselves in a situation where they are obliged to do so is ridiculous.

I very much doubt it would be suicide, it'd be an economic inconvenience. But even that cause hell to freeze over for their stock holders even if the loss was only momentary.

Publicly held companies will rarely choose the good of the public over the good of their stockholders unless given fiscal incentives through tax increases or tax decreases.

Unless they become as wealthy as Bill Gates and make a non-profit with their enormous wealth.

Given that I don’t see ANY large companies that don’t manufacture or assemble in China, especially electronics, I don’t see how one can claim it would not be economic suicide.

Consumers have chosen their priorities, and they’re only able/willing to spend a little bit extra for a better product. They’re not going to spend that much more for more expensive labor too.

Interesting that you attempt lay some blame for the situation on consumers who have "chosen their priorities"

That is absurd. Consumers have absolutely no choice in the matter other than the most unpractical "avoid using modern electronics"

They did at some point in the past. Large portions of the US manufacturing and textile sector disappeared because people opted for the cheaper imported items. I don’t see any reason to assume they would be willing to pay more for labor now either.

With increasingly depressed wages I do wonder at what point counterproductive choices become self reinforcing. Such as buying the cheapest even if it's long term cost is higher until there are no other options.

I wonder if that has anything to do when flattening wages over the same period. I wonder if that has anything to do with trade and economic policy. Or you could just chalk it up to individual consumer choices (and their crazy preference for cheaper goods suddenly and magically on offer) if you'd rather not think much.

Apple products have always been premium items that people choose to pay more for.

Apple could have simply raised their prices to account for differences in domestic manufacturing costs or swallowed the cost with decreased profit margins.

Do you have any numbers on how much they would have to raise prices? Why would they already not be charging as high a price as they think their customers are willing (or able) to pay?

Samsung announced a few weeks ago to move all its (phone) manufacturing outside China:


Samsung is already gone. Samsung had foresight and is well diversified. The company started packing up and moving to Vietnam at their peak in China back in 2013. Most of their smartphones now come from Vietnam (and Samsung's Vietnam operation alone accounts for 1/4 of all export from Vietnam).

> Samsung had foresight and is well diversified

By moving from one communist dictatorship to another communist dictatorship.

from one man commie dictatorship that poses one political and economical threat to a one party commie dictatorship that poses no such risk. This is no brainer.

Yes, and it’s going to Thailand and Vietnam and India, where the cost of inputs is cheapest (including dealing with government, the costs of which are going up in China).

Thailand No. It's mostly Vietnam -- and India possibly in near future. Sure, the wage is much lower in Vietnam, but the downside was that the country was known for low-cost textile and toys production until Samsung came along. There was literally no infrastructure for electronics production to speak of in those days and the company not only had to work with the gov't to build it from scratch, but also had to convince 200+ suppliers and contractors to move along with them.

>a company that has seen fit to extract billions in wealth from developers through their app store

This doesn’t make sense - App Store is a voluntary program no one is forced to develop apps for iPhone, or even android

You didn't mention taxes. Doesn't Apple offshore their earnings as well?

Why would you NOT want to have that hope? Being reliant upon China for anything is a huge no-no.


Please don't post in the flamewar style to HN. Regardless of how strongly you feel and what good reasons you have for it (both are clear), it only makes this place worse and gives people more reasons to complain and post badly.

The way to respond to bad comments or misinformation is patiently and with correct information, delivered respectfully. That's hard to do when provoked, I know, but if you can't or don't want to do it, it's probably better not to post. Lashing back doesn't help.


Unfortunately, Apple's Chinese employees can't expect the same quality of treatment as their coworkers in America and Europe. The CCP allows this, and Apple (and the CCP) takes full advantage.

What does your nationality or your wife have to do with this? The Brits have an illustrious history of treating Chinese people well. Or all 'furriners' for that matter. But mocking Americans is much more fun than paying attention to any of that.

>> “The Brits have an illustrious history of treating Chinese people well.”

Not sure if you’re being sarcastic, but you might have forgotten about the Opium Wars where no sides treated each other well, the Brits included.

Interesting. Redirection to discussing Chinese employment law. Redirection to talk about my nationality (which I just gave to give context for having a different view on moral treatment of Americans versus seemingly everyone else), and misdirection to a jab at British treatment of China in history.

Do you actually have any real point to make about the substance of my comment?

Accusing someone of having no interest above self interest, simply because they employ people in another country, is utterly morally bankrupt. Discuss.

The original commenter is specifically objecting to outsourcing high tech manufacturing to a country with an authoritarian government. You are ignoring this point, and suggesting that the original commenter is morally bankrupt for hating foreigners. You are going after them for things they didn't explicitly say.

In my opinion, the real choice isn't between producing in China and producing in America. It is between China and countries like India or Brazil. If India is a democracy, has better labor laws than China, has more respect for free speech, then moving production to India is less likely to have negative externalities than China.

You're eliding the part where said employees are often one generation away from subsistence farming and this is a step up for them.

That's how it happened in the west, too, no? Textile mills? I'm not saying anything about morality but it sounds standard to me.

I don't even know what point you're trying to make. No one is inherently against the Chinese. People are against the CCP, and their disgusting authoritarian regime.

One must take care to distinguish between the Chinese people and their government. I don't think the GP was talking about the people - he was talking about the government. (I have always been impressed with the intelligence, humor and heart of the Chinese people I've known; and yet this makes the authoritarianism of their government even more striking).

Humor? Really?

Well, I was last in China around 2005, and I could speak a little Mandarin, and this seemed to delight the people I (tried) to speak with. Once or twice someone bought be a beer, and even the vendors seemed happy to know that I knew how to haggle. I don't know -I just really liked it and felt at home.

This is a fair rant all around, but in my opinion your righteous anger is misplaced.

Apple, as other nominally American "multi-national" corporations, was and remains subject to government policy and plans.

Which institutions, centers of power, and influential individuals determined that the de-industrialization of United States was such a hot idea and pushed that to its extremes in the 90s?

Apple simply operated in the stated and promoted policy regime. They are not alone.

(Also cross your fingers regarding your "last hopes". Patriot Act. Secret courts. Permanent state of "national emergency" with attendant curtailment of our Natural Rights, "Surveillance Capitalism", ...)

Which institutions, centers of power, and influential individuals determined that the de-industrialization of United States was such a hot idea and pushed that to its extremes in the 90s?

It’s worth remembering that in the 90s, Francis Fukuyama was the hottest philosopher around and there was a general belief that economic liberalisation would inevitably lead a country towards Western style democracy and all that entailed. No one, certainly no one as prominent as Fukuyama ever predicted the opposite would in fact occur.

Not that this excuses Apple or anyone else. Once it became apparent they should have acted urgently. Because it meant that all their basic assumptions about how the world works need to be re-evaluated.

Lol people like baudrilllard, gilles, and guattari had better 21st century predictions then fukuyama. Fukuyama is like the starwars of 90s philosophy, mainstream tripe.

Sure but I didn’t assert he was the greatest philosopher, only the most popular, the star of the show.

He has since renounced his 90s work, to be fair.

And arguably his 90s work has been caricatured and mischaracterised, too.

Ross Perot had a thing or two to say about the economic wisdom of offshoring America's manufacturing.

Would Fukuyama have been as prominent if he predicted the opposite?

Fukuyama simply wrote a book. It strains credulity to think a single book moved the entire Western establishment to radically alter the status quo.

The End Of History wasn’t just a book, it was the whole fin-de-siecle zeitgeist. I guess you had to be there. He was the Anna Kournikova of philosophy back then.

I was there.

p.s.: https://www.newsbud.com/2018/02/09/the-rockefellers-and-roth...

(No, this news is not "fit to print" in The New York Times.)

Chinese people are also beholden to China (the government). It may be a political game to you, but trying to destabilize the government would have serious consequences to the livelihoods of the people there, just because some policies (that don’t affect you) don’t agree with your world view.

Even though there are kinks in their regime, for the most part they’ve lifted hundreds or millions out of poverty. Imagine if the U.S. had a massive foreign power prodding it during the early years of slavery, manifest destiny (the justification for eradicating the Native Americans), racism, drug war, Vietnam, and mass incarceration.

Yes, they have a big brother-style regime, but they are also capable of sorting out their own political issues. And if not, they’ll reap the consequences without you having to do it form them.

If you really believe in democracy, then trying to influence their politics from afar is ultimately going to be far-less democratic than they influencing their own politics. I understand they don't have directly elections or a multi-party system, but that does not mean there is not opinion sharing in policy decisions, or intra-party elections. In a representative form of government direct-elections are not really a thing anyways.

If you truly support democracy, the last thing you would do is to try to influence the policies of another people. That would be robbing them of their self-determinacy, even if it is to prevent them from robbing themselves of it.

That is very much a Mainland Chinese World view, which is accurate to the point of only to Mainland Chinese people, and no offence intended.

>they’ve lifted hundreds or millions out of poverty

And they did, by first and foremost down to joining WTO.

Once this government starts ( and has already done so ) influence or force Rest of the world to cooperate or kowtowing to their own self interest, which fundamentally undermines everyone else basic value and principles, then it is no longer their own policy and issues.

And that is about as civilised as I can put it.

> That is very much a Mainland Chinese World view, which is accurate to the point of only to Mainland Chinese people, and no offence intended.

Yes because this is a Mainland issue. So only Mainland opinions are legitimate. They enact their policies with their best interests in mind, however misguided it may be because a foreigner can only enact policies with their own interests in mind, however well-guided they may be. A white person probably shouldn’t go into a black community to tell them how they should run things for their best interests.

The issue isn’t that they are doing something right or wrong—all governments will enact policies that are disagreeable... the US included (in the case of Edward Snowden). The issue is that to the Chinese they will never take the protests of foreigners seriously because foreigners will have their own interests in mind, not to mention are generally poorly educated about Chinese policy decisions in general.

Trying to influence policy from afar is simply a form of taxation without representation. A foreigner really should have no say in the policy decisions of afar because 1) they do not have to suffer the consequences of the policies, 2) they cannot understand the experiences leading to such policy decisions and 3) as a result of 1 and 2 they will always have their own interests in mind rather than those or their constituents. Imagine a product manager in the US trying to manage a product built by a team of engineers in China for the Chinese market. He’ll sure fail because he will have no grasp pf the product in practice being used over there, and for that reason anyone that detached from something should not be trying to exert influence for their own interests.

A poor inner city black family may have a whole different set of daily problems than a rich white suburban family. Imagine if the white family admonishes the black family because their kids are failing school or dealing drugs. In absolute terms dealing drugs is wrong, illegal, and failing school may be a sign of bad parenting, but in reality the needs and priorities of the black family are on a completely different level from the white family.

Disenfranchising the Chineses’ right to self-govern because of your limited frame of reference that they are doing it wrong is myopic. Waging political and ideological war against them because they do things differently is the true crime. You should criticize their bad policies by pointing out why they are bad, not by disenfranchising and belittling the voice of the rest of the population.

You talk a big talk about right and wrong, but it’s clear to everyone that the CCP is intent on not honoring the agreement that HK be allowed to elect their own leader.

That’s what this is about: tyranny versus freedom. It’s disingenuous and frankly racist to compare this struggle to what a poor family lives through, and then conflating that with their skin color. I’m sure there are legitimate concerns with regards to the justice for minorities, but your argument is that that’s only the concern of black people? No. Your argument is a very typical CCP stance that the West best keep out of their dealings. No, I say, let’s stand for freedom and democracy when it is truly being attacked.

If the Chinese govt were to be destabilized then maybe those in the internment camps will have a better chance at survival and life in general. What are your thoughts on that?

Are the lives of the Han more valuable than other ethnicities?

Or it could get worse. The American Civil Rights movement was during a time of economic prosperity. When times are lean, there is more competition and people generally have less empathy.

they’ve lifted hundreds or millions out of poverty

This is the same argument that “they made the trains run on time”.

> That would be robbing them of their self-determinacy

So like what the CCP is doing to Hongkong? In spite of having agreed not to?

> If you really believe in democracy, then trying to influence their politics from afar is ultimately going to be far-less democratic than they influencing their own politics

Giving them money buying their products _is_ influencing, preferring them to hire manufacturers there _is_ influencing, influencing is just not just the opinions you dislike people giving on the internet about the situation there, in reality such comments are near nothing compared to the influence actual money and American (and world-wide) business exert politically by doing business there.

> for the most part they’ve lifted hundreds or millions out of poverty

The genocide or religious groups[0] is a price far far superior than anything any sensible human being would pay to get their country out of poverty, btw are you counting the people living in cages[1] a 'out of poverty'? And are you counting those who died living in extremely toxic conditions near factories as 'out of poverty'?

[0] http://theconversation.com/despite-chinas-denials-its-treatm...

[1] https://i.imgur.com/zlfjiOG.jpg

[2] https://imgur.com/gallery/7CFjIgK

> Even though there are kinks in their regime, for the most part they’ve lifted hundreds or millions out of poverty.

They did that by stop screwing up the economy and let capitalism do its things from the 80s on. Giving them a win for a policy of “stop meddling” I guess makes sense, but only from a perverse point of view. The best decisions the CPC made were to stop doing things.


Please stop posting in the flamewar style to Hacker News. It's not what this site is for, and destroys what it is for.

If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and use HN in the intended spirit, we'd be grateful.


Would you please stop posting in the flamewar style to HN? It's not what this site is for, and destroys what it is for. Comments like this and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21222450 are not cool here, regardless of how right you are or feel.

I'm sure you can express your substantive points thoughtfully, so please take the spirit of the site to heart and do. We'd be grateful.


It's mind boggling to me that Apple has become so big, and a huge majority of their revenue is still coming from outsourced products.

Why? Until Trump was elected, which none of the elite class in the US thought was remotely possible, a massive trade war with China was on nobody’s radar.

I thought Apple was in the process of moving some of its production to India?

That's only for products being sold in India, to avoid import taxes. And of course, it's only products from more than a couple generations ago, e.g. the iPhone SE, the 6S. I think the newest phone they're planning to manufacture in India is the 8.

As of Dec 2018, they were reported to begin building ‘high end’ phones in India this year. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-india-exclusive-idU...

Granted, it’s small production numbers, but have to start somewhere.

can't believe Apple can't do its own manufacturing in USA or Europe

That goes both ways. If Apple don't make iPhones in China then chinese workers in these factories have nothing to work on, because nothing sells like Apple products. Apple is just being weak.

Strongly authoritarian regimes can (and already do) easily give up a lot of the well being and livelihood of their citizens. It's not even remotely close to a symmetric dependency, market forces simply don't apply the same way to China as they apply to Apple or to the US in general. Which is another reason why getting into an already pointless trade war is such a bad idea.

This is a bit of a lesson of what happens when your focus on the price tag only.

Sure, I want my products to be cheap, but there might be some hidden costs that will eventually show up at a very inconvenient time.

Sure, Apple can do CKD assembly of their products everywhere, the manufacture of custom parts is the tricky part.

Yeah, this is true. Apple is now desperately trying to reduce the dependency on China, but this will take at least several years which is more than enough to damage its reputation. Building supply chain that spans over an entire country is still a non-trivial problem even though Samsung did most of the hard works for Apple.

And worse, even this is still a very optimistic projection given that it might be impossible at all. Samsung was lucky in that they were still producing majority of their semiconductors in South Korea, of course, which makes them still important enough to China. I don't know if Apple holds any thing comparable as a negotiation card.

I see lots of trailers for upcoming Apple TV+ shows that look vaguely interesting, but then I remind myself that it’s Apple and they’d never risk doing anything even remotely edgy, racy, subversive or controversial.

Don’t want to risk offending someone and harming the brand and it’s squeaky-clean, inoffensive values!

Most of the Apple TV+ shows announced so far have TV-MA ratings [1]. They're also making the follow-up miniseries to Band of Brothers and The Pacific which will undoubtedly be violent [2].

[1] https://tv.apple.com/

[2] https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/apple-launches-h...

Sex and especially violence is common fare in entertainment now. The real "edginess" is in the landscape of ideas, and the range of acceptability has been increasingly narrowed over time.

And this is why Apple TV+ will fail. Apple is trying to be Disney, but we all know why we like/don’t like Apple and why we like/don’t like Disney and there ain’t enough overlay to make them stand out.

They shouldn’t even be in the content creation business. But shareholders demand their 10% growth every year.

iTunes was great, but can you imagine Apple-made music?

U2 but with rounded corners!

So, U2 from All That You Can't Leave Behind onwards?

Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, cuddle meeeee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDl1c0nR5SI

It's interesting that shareholders are now blamed for demanding growth, when typically they're blamed for demanding stock buybacks.

Isn’t it the same thing? Growth in share price, not necessarily in revenue or profit. https://youtu.be/ylLTMYt24lA

I feel Apple shows would aim to be kid version of Disney kids.

Why would they? Not everything has to be any of these things. Sometimes you can just produce decent entertainment and that's fine, as long as you don't claim to be breaking new ground.

If you don't dream of a world full of lobotomized people to enjoy completely bland and inoffensive "entertainment", you need these things. Ostrich tactics don't make good products.

Interesting how apple's branding is pretty "beige" when it comes to being generic and cheery and unoffensive to all.

See is the only thing from their original shows that piques my interest, and it seems at least a little bit "edgy"?


> [Cook] became the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to come out as gay in 2014.

This led to one Russian institution taking down a statue of Steve Jobs, I recall.

It was only 5 years ago, but it was a first for someone with that career status.

That is the very definition of pre-judice.

Apple used to say "Think Different" - perhaps allowing individuality and creativity. Overwhelmingly, it now feels like they want us all to think in the same Apple ordained way.

What I don’t understand is how the US accepts doing business with China, allowing tourist and student visas for a country that can just block US companies from doing business there without due process

The moment the CCP tried to influence a US company the US should have responded in kind - open the market or face tariffs

Exactly. Some people probably knew well before 2012, but since the publication of Why Nations Fail it should be more common knowledge that doing business with an extractive political system makes very little difference in their chance of becoming inclusive. (A better economy does not translate into better politics.)

It's upon other political systems to ratchet open these totalitarianist systems.

1. American companies: don't piss off China. 2. American companies: make more money than ever before from China. 3. China now controls those companies even without holding majority shares. 4. ...

So, Apple has become China's bitch or was it already?

Thanks for increasing the influence of authoritarian regimes in our Western world.

Last time I checked, freedom of speech is a human right.

Thanks for not defending it.

With a gay ceo on top ( with all respect, it means they should better respect/understand Western values and freedom than other companies), these actions make clear that privacy and security are not on top of apple's list as they claim. It's profits and nothing else. They just pack innovation to have another POV and privacy and security was the easy tactic.

Screw you, crApple.



Honestly, I would LOVE to hear Tim Cook give his honest assessment of why staying 100% reliant on China was the correct supply chain move for a company with one hundred billion in cash reserves.

It seems unfathomable to me, a person who doesn't know much about supply chains etc

Remember when the US entertainment industry was considered part of American soft power? I guess that is now Chinese soft power?

As said hk is the frontier. You can’t fight the dragon who has such a large market and production empire. You can’t. We know.

We fight still.

Not because we see hope. But we fight may be we can have hope. Or our kids. Or our grand. Or at least we can tell them we do not run like our father and grands. We stay and fight.

> “Given how authentically good Apple is at protecting user privacy, it's very dismaying to see it doing the wrong thing in other areas, especially its relationship with the [Chinese Communist Party],” one former Apple employee told BuzzFeed News.

Apple seriously needs to stop knee jerk reactions and pause to think about the values its been trumpeting. Its actions seem to portray a company that will say things that are favorable to it in the market. I don’t believe that to be the case in every instance with Apple, but soon these actions will drown out the positives it has done on its own initiative.

The sooner Apple moves manufacturing out of China, the better for it and others. There are many other markets it can make money in.

I'm not sure it's realistic for many or any countries to move manufacturing out of China. Say assembly is moved out of China, they still need to source the parts, and how far do you go with this? To the point where Apple is making, in their own factories, every resistor, capacitor, logic IC, ribbon connector, PCB etc? This would seem to require a reversal of the changes in manufacturing that have occurred over recent decades in a much shorter period of time.

I am no fan of China - in the news recently a couple of our politicians have been called out as having a 'cold war mentality' just because they pointed out there differences between Australian and Chinese values - but I have to keep using Apple devices to develop and support software for clients. Likewise, I bet no matter what Apple does there will be others who stick with them as a matter of commercial reality. 'Commercial reality' has been and will continue to be China's way to be a mandatory part of world events.

I agree with your points, but relying too much on one country or one supplier is actually not Apple’s style or preference. Now this large reliance on China seems to be restricting it in ways that aren’t what any company would choose. Samsung recently stopped manufacturing in China, though it still has a small market share there and will continue to sell its devices there.

When it comes to shifting manufacturing, it seems like the main lower cost choices are “worse” and “less worse”. The less worse choices may be other countries in Asia, each with its own drawbacks and baggage, like Vietnam, India, etc.

Why is not realistic? Just look at Samsung's Vietnam operation -- there are now over 200 suppliers who relocated and set up shops in Vietnam. There are also now at least dozens of domestic suppliers and contractors supplying parts for Samsung. Samsung is the largest producer of smartphones in the world and most of their mobile devices now come from Vietnam, contrary to Tim Apple's ridiculous claim that no large scale electronic production is possible outside China.

How many of those basic components still are manufactured in China? My argument was that it's impossible to remove China completely from the supply and manufacturing chain, not that it's impossible to move 'production' outside of China.

Aren't most of the phone components actually made outside of China? Iirc many by Samsung, actually. You can get basic electronic parts anywhere, I don't understand this odd believe that only China manufactures resistors and PCBs.

I'm guessing probably none today. The smartphone business is heavily commodified at this point and there is no "basic components" that be made exclusively only in China. As I noted earlier in my comment, there are over 200 suppliers and subcontractors who set up shops and make basic parts for Samsung in Vietnam. Further, none of the "key" components such as AP, memory, storage, wireless radio, display, or glass, is made in China. Lastly, considering South Korea's recent brouhaha over THAAD, no South Korean company wants any further economic risk from political conflict with China and have been severing their dependency on Chinese suppliers last two years.

Thank you for the extra information, looks like my info and hence opinion is not up-to-date.

Every movie studio that wants a blockbuster movie has an eye on whether it will be accepted in China.

"anyone who would betray their ideals just to make money in China isn't worth a lick of spit." - Stan South Park

How is Apple betraying their ideals here? The entire point of Apple as a for-profit company is to earn a profit. They are doing what they are saying is the most important for them. Big surprise?

Seems many Americans think that companies somehow have to have a moral or something. The explicit purpose of setting up a for-profit company is to make it explicit that the company is out after earning a profit.

If there is a choice between two options, and one will lead to less profit, the choice is obvious to them. If you think Apple is "for encryption" because they are just the good guys, you're missing the picture of why a company exists in the first place.

If you are content with letting any company or executive off the hook with everything because “the purpose of a corporation is to increase shareholder value” then you have given up on democratic society.

I'm not content with that, but people seems to have the wrong expectations about what a for-profit is all about. Of course, there are ways to get profit that are illegal, but agreeing to self-censor (or be censored) by states is up to the companies. If it gives them more money, you can't be shocked when they chose that way.

I would only put trust in organizations who are not for-profit companies if it's for important things. I couldn't care less about food-delivery services for middle-class and above, but for hospitals, prisons, water, electricity and so on, you can't have (well, you can [look at the US], but usually doesn't turn out great for the people, only the stakeholders) for-profit companies running them as the incentives are all misaligned.

> I'm not content with that, but people seems to have the wrong expectations about what a for-profit is all about

Early in the US history, all companies existed through acts of congress and thus were implicitly for the betterment of the USA.

The theory of corporate ownership... Or at least the fashion trend... Has changed through the years. But many still hold onto the old ideals.

We live in a democracy, which means that we can change the 'purpose' of companies as long as enough Americans agree on it.

As such, your argument cannot assume a particular definition or purpose of companies. Instead, the question should be... Is the current for profit model really best for America?

You're right. It changes from time to time and currently we're in the state of trying maximize capitalism and then you get companies trying to optimize for those variables.

Regulation usually is used for help controlling that (and regulation is normally set by representatives of the people in that state)

You're outlining a healthy perspective on change, which I thank you for. Also means we can continue to push for more better changes.

If Apple was transparently a profit-at-all-costs operation you'd have a point, but if you look at their advertisements you'll see them invoking humanistic values constantly. They should, at the very least, be criticized for hypocrisy.

I'd argue those "humanistic values" are only advertised to improve public opinion about Apple's brand... and ultimately make more money. If customers feel good about supporting Apple, then they'll be more likely to purchase their products.

Apple wouldn't be doing it if it cost them significantly, as we see with them compromising their supposed values under Chinese pressure.

How many Apple employees are involved in these advertisements and who defines the messages?

"if you look at their advertisements you'll see them invoking humanistic values constantly"

The reason companies do this is not to be a friendly company in general and care about the world and it's people. If that was the point, they would have created a non-profit or similar. The criticism of hypocrisy should come when they make those ads instead.

Look at the Activision/Blizzard situation where a player was banned for speaking for a cause they believe in, they release different statements in different countries (one pro-China in China and one not pro-China in the US), and applies different rules in different cases where it makes sense for the market. In China, shouldn't speak about freedom for Hong-Kong and in the US, it's important you support LGBT. The company will reflect that in their advertisement, where they want people to buy their products.

And when they're caught lying, they should be criticized and penalized in the marketplace.

But corporations aren't implicitly tied with democracy. They're implicitly tied with capitalism.

Because there's a sense that Apple, as an American company with largely American engineers, managers, and executives, should value American ideals over money. You wouldn't get the same accusations that Apple was betraying their ideals if it was a Chinese company because there would be no expectation that Apple was somehow American in identity.

However, with so many major American companies selling and sourcing abroad it can be argued they should no longer be considered American, but Global corporations. And a Global corporation has to be as inoffensive as possible to any potential market in the world, China included.

Not defending Apple here, and no offense, but it baffles me when people only consider the short term consequences of actions. Can we all just stop for a moment and think about what would actually happen if Apple kept resisting China's requests for censorship? It would not only lose a huge revenue source, but more importantly, the whole world would lose a great medium for providing Chinese people with means of communications. Communication is the first step for any change in a society. In other words, Apple is indirectly helping the Chinese with their quest for more freedom of speech. Do you seriously rather Apple be banned in China and be replaced by other Chinese companies (e.g. Huawei and Xiaomi) who have been working with the government?

Now, of course it hurts to see these things happen, but that's jut the complexity of the world we're living in. On the other hand, if Apple were to collaborate with the Chinese government on providing backdoors etc., it would be a whole other story.

You do realize that Apple itself has no interest in "freedom of speech" for the people in China? Unless it would mean more money for them, then they would for sure care. They don't do decisions based on what's best for humanity, they base their decisions on what's best for their shareholders. Even if the ability for people to communicate is nice, it's a side-effect of what Apple (or any for-profit company) really wants.

"On the other hand, if Apple were to collaborate with the Chinese government on providing backdoors etc., it would be a whole other story. " Then I got news for you! Everyone in China who is using Apple (with their nice ideals and everything) and using iCloud, have all their data easily accessible to the Chinese government, as iClouds servers are run by a state-owned company.

> should value American ideals over money.

And what are they? if not capitalism and opportunity? Because that's exactly what Apple is doing with China, making money.

But let's cut the hypocrisy here. All these "values" advertised by American companies are PR and marketing for their American audience, nothing more.

Just like Nike faking to care about civil rights in US while using child slave workforce overseas to make cheap shoes. And it works because consumers like narratives, not facts.

Apple is all about narratives, to make Apple client feels special, as a luxury brand.

One could wonder if these values were to be spread all over the world, the companies would be forced to follow them everywhere, even if it's just PR. For example, Nike wouldn't be able to enforce that cruel work environment on children overseas because it would have to honor the same values for good PR even in that foreign country.

For-profit companies are under no obligation to seek profit before all other goals. In the broad sense, they can seek to optimize for any value their shareholders collectively agree to, and in a narrow sense, their leaders are still bound by ethics and laws, and it's reasonable for society to hold them accountable to such.

I think that sounds a bit naive. A shareholder is typically the one that has economic benefit from the company performing well. You usually become a shareholder because you'd like to increase your economic wealth, otherwise you'd chose a different structure. Usually you have for-profit companies looking out for themselves, and non-profits aiming for a bigger mission that goes beyond profit.

Also, unsure of how it works in the US, but usually shareholders are not bound by any ethics as far as I know. Sure, if they would be unethical, people may boycott the company and it would do less profit. But I don't think there are laws saying a shareholder/company needs to be ethical. It's just good business currently to be ethical.

It might sound naive, but look back into the mid 20th century and companies were much more inclined to consider the overall. Including welfare of the workers, the community, the quality of product or service offered etc rather than a blinkered focus on shareholder value.

There have been a few interesting pieces in the FT that make something of a mockery of the benefits of focus on shareholder value. Finding that it is usually of short term benefit, but longer-term detriment to the company, and ultimately shareholders.

of course Apple is not what it used to be and this is just marketing talk but just look at the "here's to the crazy ones Apple comercial": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjgtLSHhTPg

Can any entity glorify civil disobedience historical figures and bend to the wills of a country known for gross human rights violations? Of course it can but it shouldn't.

or the "Nineteen-Eightyfour" one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zfqw8nhUwA

And I think you are missing the picture that the world is now a global place and you have to act accordingly. I was just in Costco yesterday looking to buy a new phone. The whole Apple removing supposed pro Hong Kong apps crossed my mind. I thought what other phones are there to buy. I the end I never made a decision. But honestly, and Android has it's own issues, but with an Android it is starting to feel like they have a bit more ownership of their devices since they can sideload. Yes I am all about security and get the walled garden approach but look what is happening in Hong Kong and Apples now removal of apps I question if I want to buy their phone. I am a no body, I buy an Apple phone every 4-5 years. I am on the fence here with Apple I get China is a hard market to enter and not upset anyone. So you are right, a company does not have to have morals just look at the phone companies who will charge you bogus fees any chance they get they don't give a shit and are not moral. But they have you buy the balls so people stay. I can choose from many many phone manufactures so Apple better try to please me too.

>How is Apple betraying their ideals here?

"It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy"

"Think different"


To the extent that a corporation can have abstract things like ideals, this seems like a betrayal


Feels like you're implying that this is not true anymore for modern for-profit companies? If I misread what you wrote, I'm sorry.

Every world power worth the title forces trading partners to treat it like a delicate flower or otherwise lose the opportunity to trade and even though the US is the current largest economy in the world China is on track to surpass it so US companies have almost no choice but to appease the heavy-handed Chinese government.

> Every world power worth the title forces trading partners to treat it like a delicate flower or otherwise lose the opportunity to trade and even though the US is the current largest economy in the world China is on track to surpass it so US companies have almost no choice but to appease the heavy-handed Chinese government.

Yes, but what China does is go one step further by making extremely clear that Western corporations who want to do business with China don't disparage the Chinese government publicly, don't talk about Tibet, don't call Taiwan a free country...

And every company has the choice, it's just that they chose to abide by Chinese rules, that's all.

I mean the bill always comes due, always. For 30+ years the west has depended on China to produce consumer grade products such has high tech, toys, and what not, looking the other way when it comes to human rights, and now people are complaining that a bloody dictatorship behaves like one? When trade agreements were signed, why did no other world power imposed ethical conditions on China? Because building our stuff in a bloody dictatorship to drive down cost is what all the west wanted, that's all.

It's a bit easy to wake up 30+ years later and act all surprised that there are political consequences to this.

Look at Hollywood, the biggest propaganda tool in the world, bending over backward not to offend China because of their cinema market. All these "actors/activists" so vocal about everything, you never hear them talking about China curiously, That's the bill I was talking about earlier. Now they work for China.

> It's a bit easy to wake up 30+ years later and act all surprised that there are political consequences to this.

I mostly do agree with you but one point worth considering is that many people didn't "wake up" 30 years later, they were born in the last 30 years and don't want to accept the world that their parents handed them.

The blindspot most people have here towards atrocities committed by Western governments is really striking. The United States regularly invades other countries (causing hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq, destroying Libya), armed Sunni extremists in Syria, backs the Saudi dictatorship and the Israeli occupation, is economically strangling Iran and Venezuela, ran a global abduction and torture operation, still runs a global assassination program, and spies on the communications of billions of people around the world. Yet suddenly, everyone is up in arms about China as the threat to the world that must be stopped. This sudden paranoia just happens to coincide with American foreign policy interests - preventing the rise of a challenge to American hegemony.

A couple months ago it was Russia. Now it's China. In a year from now, it will be the next country it's convenient to US foreign policy to hate.

I'm not at all thinking that the US is exempt from atrocities of foreign policy from regime change to unfounded wars. The one distinction that exists is that elected officials are the ones that carry these things out in the US such that in some way all Americans carry the burden of those actions, in China, not so much. Xi has taken steps to be leader for his lifetime; China is carrying out mass camps where Uighurs are being systematically targeted for their religion among other things. Being an American, I know I can be blind to my government's policies and how they affect other nations, I mean, we use the fact that the US dollar is the world reserve currency such that it can use the power of the US Treasury to wield the banking system to shut down nation banks. Great power, much responsibility and all that.

I agree. I want nothing more than to revel in the fact that I can both call Trump a pumpkin idiot and President Xi a dictator that looks like Winnie the Pooh. (Don’t even get me started on Taiwan or Hong Kong — none of my stances would be appreciated by the Party) But I’m not trying to sell Trump fans or supporters of President Xi goods and or services.

I don’t envy Tim Cook and his role as leader of Apple, beholden to Wall Street pundits always seeking growth, and yet espousing safety and privacy for all on its platform and yet caving to the Chinese government. That said who knows if the claims made in Tim’s email about harm coming to Chinese police from the app or attacks on citizens not sympathetic to the HK protests — there’s so much misinformation out there and it’s in China’s best interest to spin things.

American films often use military assets and personal, and give the military final cut on the films. They follow rules set by the navy, Air Force, etc to portray their personnel and decision making in a certain, glorifying way. This program has been rampant in US film, but it's arguably increased in it's offerings to film makers; more money, more sets, more extras--and more demands. Film franchises work with U.S. forces to produce recruitment material using the film's IP, story, actors and brand.

Black Mirror, from memory, season 3 episode 5(?), a soldier fights a non-human enemy that is simply hiding from them. [Spoiler ahead] Turns out, military manipulation of the soldier's brain causes him to see non-humans where there are actually helpless humans.

Independence Day 2 lent their story, one of fighting alien invasion, to US armed forces recruitment videos. Actors gave mock interviews about their brave children who fought the aliens, and viewers were encouraged to join the REAL armed forces to be like the fictional ones fighting the fictional enemy.

This scratches the surface of what I mean to compare Cook's alleged requests to. Apple, without military money, asked writers to be sensitive of another nation. Their motive: a wider audience and more subscribers and customers. Heinous and selfish--sure, why not--but a far cry from recruiting folks to dump napalm on villages or use Iraqi farmers as target practice.

As a freaking media company, producers and other executives ask for content and define the market in which they want to address. It sounds like that's all Apple's really done. And if they've actually made an effort to curb US propaganda about China, then, even better. But I think it's more about expanding to a very promising market.

Yeah, the fact that any appearance of US military assets requires Pentagon to approve the script means that Hollwood is unable to record a movie depicting modern US millitary in any critical or non-heroic manner. Is you look at the records, you can see that the requirements are very strict, to the point where many movies aren't even allowed to depict US millitary losing in larger combat operations.

This obviously shifts the tone of any war movie to the point where we could almost call it propaganda. How can movies be true to history if they're not allowed to ever show a major player in a bad light?

> Yeah, the fact that any appearance of US military assets requires Pentagon to approve the script means that Hollwood is unable to record a movie depicting modern US millitary in any critical or non-heroic manner.

Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon ... There are probably more movies critical of war than promoting it. Actually, the general theme is to display the senseless of war than to glorify it. To say hollywood is in the pocket of the pentagon is to ignore most of its history.

China on the other hand, won't approve a movie if winnie the pooh appears in it.

US military refused to cooperate filming Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and many other films. For Apocalypse Now they pressured Australian and Philippine governments to deny assistance as well. US military has successfully removed lines from silly action movies like James Bond films and Marvel movies.

It's not comparable to what Chinese do of course, but the intention is there. Anyone who directly compares Chinese censorship to US censorship is an idiot.

There is a huge difference between refusing to cooperate and forbidding the making of film altogether. The U.S military doesn't have the power to restrict freedom of speech. Of course no organization would want to be portrayed in bad light. That is obvious. But unlike China where everything has to be approved by their authoritarian government, we have freedom of speech laws that protect us.

US military refused to cooperate filming Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and many other films

The story goes that the US Army refused to cooperate with Heartbreak Ridge once they read the script, but the USMC agreed without reading it. That’s why you’ve got the corrupt supply sergeant, the useless platoon commander, the cowardly company commander, the unit that is forced to repeat basic training and everything else that portrays everyone but Clint Eastwood’s character in a poor light.

Yes, movies about old operations can be made because you can get/mock hardware without military approval. But note how those are all more than 50 years in the past.

And we didn't even get to censorship of any sexual content, where depictions of human bodies make sure that US will censor it.

It's really hard to be sympathetic to this US hand-wringing where we've had our own content censored constantly under conservative American value system on American platforms.

This is a spurious comparison- at the end of the day if you wanted to make a movie or Documentary denouncing the army- you can in america.

You can’t in China.

The act of NOT giving resources and bases to film makers is not censorship.

It doesn't matter if something is forbidden by directly via law or via indirect pressure of money. The result isn't all that different.

Since The results are very different, in practice and observable reality, I would have to say that the statement is wrong.

For all the indirect pressure, anti war movies do exist as do movies that challenge American systems and narratives of superiority - from within their own country.

Dissent is enshrined as a part of existence in america.

In China it is anathema, and they explicitly and implicitly act to maintain that strength.

Hence the whole point of the article - it’s not america which is asking Apple to take down apps because they hurt China’s image, and it’s not America telling the NBA to correct its errors.

When people kneeled in america during football games, or highlighted their protest, it was handled publicly and all sides were audible. political tribes fought over the act on the air waves- but that’s something that doesn’t happen in China at all; No one was whisked away to a re-education camp.

This is nonsense. The U.S military doesn't fund the U.S film making industry. The result is different, there are plenty of films critical of the U.S armed forces. In contrast that's not even a possibility in China because they have no freedom of speech and censorship is ubiquitous.

China won't allow even foreign companies to criticize it == US army won't help others criticize it. That's exactly the same. Not.

P.S. Just wait until you get the Chinese value system, which surprisingly censors everything US does and much much more.

Everyone knows about sexuality anyway, but not about all of the topics that China wants people not even to mention.

It's strange that the movie wasn't approved, but a Winnie the Pooh ride in Shanghai Disneyland is fine


Almost as if specific images containing Winnie the Pooh were blocked, not every single possible mention of the character.

- Apocalypse Now: 1979

- Full Metal Jacket: 1987

- Platoon: 1986

Anything more recent?

- Jarhead: showing the boredom and uselessness of war

- Hurt Locker: showing the lack of clear morality (good guy/bad guy) in war

- American Sniper: showing the lasting psychological damage that war can inflict on the individual soldier.

Even though some of these movies depict individual heroism in war, none of them would be allowed in China (without heavy editing) because they are at their heart, critical of the entire endevour.

Yes, American Sniper, White House Down, 24 (TV Series), just to name a few. The 3 you list are barely even patriotic.

American Sniper,:

"Kyle meets Taya Studebaker at a bar, and the two soon marry. He is sent to Iraq after the September 11 attacks. His first kills are a woman and boy who attacked U.S. Marines with a Russian made RKG-3 anti-tank grenade. Kyle is visibly upset by the experience but later earns the nickname "Legend" for his many kills. Assigned to hunt for the al-Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Kyle interrogates a family whose father offers to lead the SEALs to "The Butcher", al-Zarqawi's second-in-command. The plan goes awry when The Butcher captures the father and his son, killing them while Kyle is pinned down by a sniper. This sniper goes by the name Mustafa and is an Olympic Games medalist from Syria. Meanwhile, the insurgents issue a bounty on Kyle."

How this disproves that "Hollwood is unable to record a movie depicting modern US millitary in any critical or non-heroic manner"?

If you have mentioned Generation Kill I would have given you props but it is not an accident that many people in US have not heard about that series (and the book).

> American Sniper ... How this disproves that "Hollwood is unable to record a movie depicting modern US millitary in any critical or non-heroic manner"?

It's very critical. While American Sniper does indeed glorify the heroism of individual soldiers, it simultaneously criticizes the entire endevour. Yes, the lead protagonist is depicted as a hero, but he is never confident in his own morality, and even develops a professional kinship with the people that he is ordered to kill. It also highlights the severe physiological damage that war can bring, the movie ending in tragedy.

While American Sniper may glorify the individual warrior, it's largely critical of war itself.

I think what criticizes the whole endeavor more the movie "Vice".

Agree with your general point, but I think you're generalizing a bit too much. There's plenty of movies that aren't Top Gun-level propaganda. The Hurt Locker, Jarhead, all the ones commented below.

You'll also note that they have a very limited depiction of US Army hardware (or use older/fake models).

This is complete non-sense. The 1st amendment of the U.S constitution is the freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want against the U.S armed forces and portray them however you wish, and there are plenty of examples.

The growth of CGI technology has made it increasingly possible for filmmakers to make motion pictures about the military without military cooperation.

Lack of access to US military assets does not prevent you from being able to make a movie about the modern US military saying whatever you want.

> American films often use military assets and personal, and give the military final cut on the films

Which is a voluntary process. How does that compare to top down state censorship?

It creates unfair competitive advantage against those who don't want to adhere to state approved propaganda.

I know some are weak at geography, law and business. It's fine. But Tim Cook, nor Apple, are leaders of China nor a state.

If an executive asks for changes to remove homophobic comments from a Western film, they are not engaging in "top-down state censorship". That's just a person helping other people not be jerks.

> If an executive asks for changes to remove homophobic comments from a Western film, they are not engaging in "top-down state censorship". That's just a person helping other people not be jerks.

I seriously have no idea what you are talking about. If I had to guess, you are comparing removing hate-speech to adding CCP propaganda. Those are the same thing.

Can that possibly be right?

> a far cry from recruiting folks to dump napalm on villages or use Iraqi farmers as target practice

It's not. People get recruited to look the other way as Uyghur graveyards get disappeared, not to mention what is done to people. The main difference is that the Winter Soldier hearings didn't just take place, you can still watch them on American websites, or buy the movie from American sellers. Or take this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Tribunal

> The Russell Tribunal was included by historian Guenter Lewy as part of a "veritable industry publicizing alleged war crimes", as increasing numbers of American servicemen were stepping forward with published accounts of their experiences with atrocities, and scholars and peace organizations were holding tribunals dealing with war crimes.

That is not at all comparable with the situation in China. And even as bad as COINTELPRO was, notice the difference between https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO#Intended_effects and "disappear anyone deemed an enemy, disappear who talks about it, if the people protest, roll over them with tanks". We also don't only ever hear about the Kent State shooting from people living in exile, or see it in archives of non-US news organizations.

There is propaganda on both sides, but basically zero criticism or reflection (allowed within earshot of the government) on just one of them. That the crickets are chirping under the CCP while atrocities of the US military are heavily publicized and discussed, also by American filmmakers and journalists, in itself says a lot.


Except that it's all true - Captain Marvel is for example the new example of US Air force using a hollywood movie to drive their recruitment.

(It's kinda funny really - in the movie the hero returns to earth disgusted because she had to help with operations colonising neutral worlds. And then joins the Air Force.)


It's all one-sided marketing for one political side (the word for it is usually - propaganda). The only difference is that it's not the US who's holding the purse strings this time.

I guess you missed the bit about false equivalency. The US government is not the same as the CCP, as much as you'd like to fantasize it is.

Maybe you would have repeated the same line if Disney was making cartoons for the Soviets or Nazis last century. And to that I say, bug off.

You've been breaking the site guidelines routinely by being aggressive on this site. We've given you multiple warnings and tried to persuade you not to, but you've responded the same way to our attempts as well.

Since you don't seem to want to use HN as intended, I'm not sure what there is left to do but ban you. I can't help but feel like you don't really mean to be aggressive, though, and are somehow doing this for some other reason. So, one last plea: if you don't want to be banned on HN, please read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and take the spirit of this site to heart. There's no reason why you can't make your substantive points in keeping with those guidelines. Yes, there are many bad comments that get posted here. That's no reason to be abusive and make this place even worse.

No, the US government obviously isn't (yet) the same, although it has been far from trustworthy in this last term.

However - if you want to make a moral argument against another side in a conflict, you need to make sure that you're actually standing on a moral high ground. At least if you want to recruit allies on your side. And, if you read the news, current US administration hasn't been treating their allies too well these last years. And US will need allies to resist Chinese influence.

I don't hold any sympathy for the Chinese, but it's also hard to see how following just another bully in an unequal relationship would benefit my non-US government.


This isn’t the us army making the argument or the American state. Normal people are.

How is this different from saying “only people who have never sinned can speak out against evil.” With the added dollop of whataboutism?

> How is this different from saying “only people who have never sinned can speak out against evil.” With the added dollop of whataboutism?

You can't make a moral argument ("China is evil!") without being on moral highground. Having your own moral highground questioned when you're trying to paint youself as better is not "whataboutism".

There's two way how you can go about this argument:

1.) You can debate purely realpolitik - where morals don't matter and only the benefit of US or China hegemony is taken into account. This can be a hard sell though, mostly due to how current administration relentlessly attacks even their historic allies.

2.) You can debate on basis of keeping a free and modern society and how US keeps Chinese totalitarianism at bay. But then you will have to accept having your own morals questioned. Screaming about Chinese totalitarianism when the current US president actively avoids and attacks the US justice system trying to keep him accountable is hypocritical.

And we are free to criticize the current US President, and we are aware of his wrongdoings, as are all citizens of the country- resulting in a change in the way the political calculus of the country runs.

How is this in any way comparable to China where people have to come up with homophones/alternate words to literally get around armies of state censors?


My first reaction to your comment was to write a vitriolic answer about how easy it is to dismiss someone's answer as propaganda when it is uncomfortable. But then I've read his comments and damn! You're right, he's clearly pushing an agenda.

Which makes me wonder: when I first read his post I found it quite interesting and, in fact, it confirmed my experience as a non-American that occasionally watches contemporary American action movies: they're sickeningly propagandistic and paint the military in a way that is, to say the least, unrealistic. It always bothers me, but I'm used to the idea that many people in America buy the idea that soldiers are their heroes, fighting for them and saving the country. It's an idea that in my European country is much less effective and widespread (even if recently the right is trying to make it a thing).

In any case, now I'm wondering what is true and what is not about his statement. I guess I'll have to research it, as I'm curious to know more about this. I have to say that this shows that the trick with propaganda is not to lie but to use some specific facts as a weapon.


Honestly, I wish I had made a throwaway for talking about "political" topics. This account was meant for my more professional stuff. For various reasons I gradually "came out" and rebuked a few hate and war mongering posts. And your comment sounds much like one I believe I made days ago about the rise in anti-China/Eastern smears getting attention on HN.

Please do respect my privacy, but I am an actual, verifiable person who has no affiliation with reputation management, psyops intelligence groups and so on in any country (neither private nor state groups btw).

What I've posted is true, and many others have expanded on it. Some of their supportive posts I'll try find time to research and confirm myself!

"Facts as a weapon", well that's flattering--"pen mightier than the sword" sort of vibe.

But having my history looked into, my identity found, employers contacted in efforts to have me fired, that is scaring me. That's a weapon governments use to squash dissent against their use of fascism, and I don't see it as good use of facts as a weapon.

My immediate thought is to delete all my posts, change my usernames everywhere and shut down professional accounts. But then the pushers of Chinese occupation, invasion, suctions, proxy-wars or general weakening of a state I admire (at least above others) get a gold star.

Anyway, I'm going to stop posting. Hopefully I can find another username I like when I want to post about product releases.

Thank you for your posts! I know how risky it is to express these opinions at this time.

Even showing actual facts can get you in trouble.

I have definitely learned a lot from your posts and hope you do keep them up.

> Their entire account is clearly dedicated to toeing the CCP party

I checked and no it’s not

The person is very clearly pro-China. But “their entire account” looks like a normal hacker news user except for their political leanings

This is entirely true if you check the account. And my posts were downvoted multiple times within seconds, which seems obvious...

To the mods: potty mouths aren't the problem on HN, the spreading of fake news is.

Yes, and the top of that mainstream media is always pro-war. Just look at this, "liberal" pushing for war without knowing anything about that is really happening in the word. People have to explain why they are against war, and this is the norm.


You just referred to an entire media landscape as one thing, then linked a tulsi gabbard video falsely claiming she is "anti-war" (she is very pro-Russian bombs killing Syrians, even criticized Obama for not killing more Syrians under the guise of fighting terrorism). https://theweek.com/articles/855766/tulsi-gabbard-no-peaceni...

I struggle to define this "anti-war anti-democrat anti-media (usually pro-Trump)" demographic I see online. Just a light scratch of the fingernail and their entire ideology falls apart.

Apple: We're totally LGBTQ friendly!

Also Apple: We make all of our products in a country that brutally oppresses these people!

I got the impression Chinese people didn't really have as much of an issue with LGBTQ people as other cultures, because they don't have as much religious hangups as people from a christian background. Is that inaccurate? I know the Chinese government suppresses speech it doesn't like, but is it actively doing things against LGBTQ people? Honest question.

I don’t think the government has shown it has a position on the issue really.

China is not a gay-friendly place though — gays often hide their homosexuality from their parents and parents often insist “it’s a choice.” The younger generations are more accepting though (although still not nearly as much as in the West). But I think this is more due China’s level of development than it is to the CCP.

This makes me want to anger China. What would be the best way to go about it for an individual person?

Taking a few Free Tibet, Hong Kong or Taiwan flags to a game that'll be broadcast in China might be a good start


As one person? I'd go with art and/or memes. Winnie the Pooh is verboten in China because one person made a comparison of Xi to Winnie and it took off. I know some people are doing this with Overwatch (creating art and memes of Mei supporting the Hong Kong protests) with the idea of getting Overwatch banned in China as well.

Winnie is a Canadian-British treasure and it makes me a little disappointed that he gets to be associated with someone like Xi. I do understand that it undermines the strong-arm image, but still...

The easiest way would be to join Amnesty International.

It's not so much China as it is Xi and his minions. There are 1.2 billion hostages under the control of Xi.

Just remember you're dealing with people who have bizarre logic. For example the Dali Lama is old and his new successor by tradition reincarnates. But China the PRC has demanded "that he must reincarnate, and on their terms." Now that's nuts.

> It's not so much China as it is Xi and his minions. There are 1.2 billion hostages under the control of Xi.

You’re vastly underestimating how successful the CCP’s propaganda campaigns, censorship, and patriotic education have been. Actually, even without those, the CCP’s economic successes have earned it a lot of legitimacy (deserved or not). A more liberal successor to Xi might be able to nudge the ship to a slightly less nationalistic direction (a noticeably less hostile foreign policy) but I suspect a hypothetical liberalized China will take generations.

This makes me want to anger China.

Remember media like Buzzfeed wants you to be enraged, it keeps you coming back for more.

Probably by not working for a company that does business in China or responds to its threats.

Influence your neighbors and local govt to vote against any relationship with China whenever possible.

Ditch you phone/tablet/computer/watch/fridge and every product you have that was produced in China or has components sourced in China would be a good start.

Be elected president, and then figure this out on your own?

Let's see, you could colonize their country, cut off trade or place tariffs on their goods. You could fight wars with their poorer neighbours. You could place your aircraft carriers in nearby waters (if you don't have a carrier already, highly recommend purchasing one for intimidating nations worldwide). Or try anger them by derailing full passenger trains in Hong Kong and spray painting Pepe the frog everywhere. Don't have time? Just send $29 million to Hong Kong to finance terrorism and propaganda there.

In all of the above, someone has already beat you to it. You want to anger a country that is already under siege from terrorism, yet not angry enough to still want peace and trade with everyone. Making them angry might actually be quite hard. And I'm not sure I want to see them angry, because they would win a war of attrition if it came down to it.

A Buzzfeed article about a media company executive's business plan and content strategy made you angry, though. So angry you wanted to strike back--not at Apple or their executives--but at China, who are victims of Trump's trade war and growing hostile presence around it's land and sea borders.

I watched a Chinese film. A character, meek but incredible at mathematics and game theory, is lured into a game of life and death. He and some peers devise and plan to survive the game together, but he's betrayed and awaits execution while his friends survive off the game elements they shared (imagine casino chips or something). He manages to buy back into the game and then uses his strategic skills to save those who tried to have him killed so they could take their shared money. The film ends with the protagonist saying, "Maybe everyone only cares about themselves. But even if it seems crazy, I will help people no matter what. That's just how I am. Crazy."

You go ahead and try take some revenge on China because of Apple executives. For me, I'd rather consider the Chinese values revealed in that film, and in the actions and achievements of the nation over the past decades. Misplaced pettiness I do not see among them.

They didn't say anything about concentration camps in the movie? :P

You seem a bit brainwashed, but the betraying part kinda nailed it in that Chinese movie.


You were talking about 1 guy that is honest and 12 betraying him.

That's a very weird POV for showing Chinese values, but it could be correct :)

Just not the way you anticipated it.


Eg. How would Hong Kong, Tibet or Taiwan feel vs. China.

How would any foreigner feel in court if it was a Chinese vs foreigner there.

How would any neighbouring country feel vs. Their international waters occupied by China.

How do Western countries feel that, for 20 years, China is lying about one of their conditions for joining the WTO.

And how does someone feel just not agreeing with Xi, about his fellow Chinese citizen, getting doxed on social media, because of another way of thinking. Not everyone agrees though.

Ps. Yes, most are politics and Xi, but the social credit system is merging politics to citizens.

Here's a pic about some people not agreeing with your Chinese values:


Reality vs a movie

Don’t buy cheap crap.

This whole situation is depressing.

Here's a list of companies that have bent over for Chinese censorship requests:


You can add any others that you know of.

This is what it must have felt like for a sane person watching the Nazis coming into power.

I think you should sort them according to importance or categorize them. Otherwise seeing a too long list may lead to outrage fatigue.

> This is what it must have felt like for a sane person watching the Nazis coming into power.

Hannah Arendt described it well in an interview, and it also sheds light on contemporary mental gymnastics, especially on HN.


Why does the culture that becomes outraged by offending people’s identity also become outraged by China being offended?

Why is this such a big deal? If companies can buy product placements in TV shows, I don't see why China can't buy censorship.

Apple, the NBA, Google, and Blizzard are all trying to make money. Somehow shilling for Pepsi is widely accepted, but shilling for China is too far?

>Somehow shilling for Pepsi is widely accepted, but shilling for China is too far?

Uhh yes? That's a completely valid line of acceptance for people to have. One of those things harvests organs out of people in concentration camps. How is this confusing?

Yeah and the other one uses child labor to harvest palm oil (or did until very recently).

The bigger the organization, the more likely you're going to find some bad stuff. Apple's got worker suicides. China has probably harvested organs from prisoners.

None of it's great, but I don't really know how to judge how bad China is proportionally. How many organs would they have to harvest to be comparable to how many children were forced to harvest oil for PepsiCo?

The abuses in Xinjiang are real, but we do the Muslims there a disservice if we share actual fake news. The organ harvesting story was made up.


They're not harvesting organs. Criminals who are executed have their organs not go to waste in a coffin.

It's not like they're taking everyone's second kidney.

I think it's problematic because it creates perverse incentives to make more criminals. And there are religious / moral concerns about taking parts of your body after you die without consent.

But I also understand that the biggest objections are the religious / moral ones, and I don't know maybe that doesn't bother people as much in China?

> I think it's problematic because it creates perverse incentives to make more criminals.

We have this issue all over the US. Private prison contracts often have a "minimum filled cell" clause that causes penalties to the city/county/state if there are too _few_ people incarcerated.

If PepsiCo paid CNN to not air negative news about them, I'd take offence.

It's the whole selling of a sugary drink vs selling the oppression of a billion people.

Both seem bad.

Isn't the thing to be offended about that you're consuming media that you think is an artistic work, but it's got some propaganda mixed in with it?

If you're doing business with Pepsi and your workers are publicly trashing Pepsi, it makes sense that you'd put a stop to it. That's what Apple (and the rest) are doing with China.

I know China defenders take whataboutism and moral relativism to extremes but not even the Soviet Union stooped so low to justify any of their actions with "But, Pepsi"

I'm not defending China. I'm just surprised at how shocked everyone seems to be that media companies are peddling influence for China, because they'll do it for literally anyone with money.

>Isn't the thing to be offended about that you're consuming media that you think is an artistic work, but it's got some propaganda mixed in with it?

No the thing to be offended about is genocide. Art can go fuck itself compared to that. No offence to art or dislike for it.

What genocide? This whole thing boiled over due to a proposed law to allow extradition of HK residents to China, which is bad, but it's not genocide.

The Uyghurs.

HK is getting most of the China attention lately but right before that it was all directly about the Uyghurs. HK gets more attention because they have more ability to broadcast their struggle. Videos of people fighting police are more entertaining than satellite photos of bland looking buildings.

That China is forcing abortions and harvesting organs from people in concentration camps is what gives the HK and global business capitulation stories their edge though. A country slightly reducing the independence of one of its cities isn't all that big of a deal, unless that country is evil incarnate. Businesses working within the framework set by, and cooperating with, the governments they are working under isn't a big deal, unless that government is evil incarnate.

It turns those things in to the equivalent of Poland being swallowed up by WW2 Germany and allied countries fueling the German war machine. Yes I am making a Nazi reference, of which I consider the CCP to be within the ballpark of.

What's shocking is that HK with 0 deaths is getting more news than Iraq, where 100 protesters were just killed a few days agi.

Not to mention Kashmir, which isn't even in the news anymore.

Ok, I did a little reading on that one, and that's pretty close to genocide.

The idea that everything that touches China is toxic seems reasonable, but it still doesn't explain why are we suddenly drawing the line at censorship in entertainment. Everything is made in China, and Apple is no stranger to the Chinese market.

I don't know how it worked with the nazis, but I'd guess at some point it became unacceptable for US companies to do business with them. Maybe that's where this is headed.

iPhones aren't being made worse globally to cater to Chinese government demands. Entertainment, arguably, is.

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