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Cellphones Censorship Handhelds Apple

Apple Censors Dalai Lama iPhone Apps In China 253

Posted by timothy
from the lend-me-a-thousand-garden-shears dept.
eldavojohn writes "Google and Yahoo! have relinquished any sort of ethical integrity with regards to free speech in China but Apple appears to be following suit by blocking Dalai Lama applications in the Chinese iPhone app store. An official Apple statement reads, 'We continue to comply with local laws. Not all apps are available in every country.' A small monetary price to pay for the economic boon that is the blooming Chinese cell phone market but a very large price to pay for that in principles."
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Apple Censors Dalai Lama iPhone Apps In China

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2010 @03:00AM (#30612790)

    They care about their rights to make money.

    I mean seriously, do you REALLY think it would be easy to oppress 1.299 BILLION angry people with 1 million armed soldiers if the majority gave a shit? Yeah, me neither.

    The Chinese don't give a shit about freedom of speech et al, so long as they're free to make money. Ask any of them about freedom of speech (outside of MAYBE a few really liberal by Chinese standards journalists), and they'll bluntly tell you they don't give a shit. They want to make MONEY, and that's it.

    So long as the Chinese people don't give a shit about freedom of speech, there's no point in caring about it for them. As much as I'd like to help them, they're the only ones that can do anything about it. And they won't any time soon. Let's worry about our own freedoms instead, so that one day when they DO care we're available to help if they happen to need it.

    • by sydneyfong (410107) on Friday January 01, 2010 @06:58AM (#30613322) Homepage Journal

      It wasn't that long ago when China was really an underdeveloped country, with the majority of the population without sufficient daily necessities such as food and shelter. Talk to them about freedoms and of course that will on deaf ears.

      Today a sizable part of China is prosperous almost on par with the first world. It wouldn't be long until these people demand more freedoms and rights.

      What I think the Chinese government is really concerned though, is not about its citizens having more freedoms and rights. Rather, it is the eagerness of the west to "help" the "revolution".

      Honestly, we've all seen what happens when the righteous Uncle Sam and the west "liberates" a country. Iraq? Afghanistan? If you read up Chinese 19-20th century history, you'll realize that a lot of invasions were under various "nice" pretexts, notably the "Greater Asia" slogan used by the Japanese to "rid Asia of colonial powers".

      I'm sure you don't have these ulterior motives, but please face the fact: your "help" to other countries "for their own good", is much more likely to make it a hellhole than achieving something positive.

      • This is absolutely right on the money. A few decades ago, 99% of the population there could never eat their fill.

        People do not demand luxuries unless they have basic food and shelter covered. If half your town was starving, who the fuck would care about freedom of speech? Feeding your children comes first; you can call it "greed" if you want, but they're still getting over the fact that most of them can actually eat as much as they want now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Statistically I'd say that US involvement is more likely to be positive than negative. Enumerated:

        Mexican-American War: Substantially positive effects on acquired territory.
        Spanish-American War: Substantially positive effects for Puerto Rico and Guam, less so but still positive for the Philippines... Cuba not so much, the degree of which depending on whether you want to blame the revolution on the US.
        World War II: Positive effects for numerous occupied territories, Japan, Germany, former Japanese Pacif
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You've conveniently omitted all the South American countries where the CIA tipped over dozens of governments for being "too leftist", enabling the rise of vicious military dictators. Ditto for big chunks of Africa, and parts of the middle east (hint: the Shah, dumbass).

          Your "analysis" of Vietnam also omits that we had the opportunity to solve that problem 30 years before the war, but didn't because Wilson was a racist bastard.

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Of those 1.299 billion people, many will be physically unable to fight (too old, disabled, very young etc)...
      Many more will simply be unwilling to, there is no way you can motivate an entire population like that... And since there would be a high risk of death, people would need to be very motivated to act.
      And even if you tried, how would you get the word out to so many people, when the government controls all the mass communications systems?

      In this modern age, it's simply impossible to motivate enough peop

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by shar303 (944843)

      Obviously you're not aware that the British brutally controlled the whole of india for a long long time, and with less than 20,000 soldiers. that's a country of close to a billion people controlled by 20,000.

      one question for you, do you think that by apple making money from helping to take away the human rights of people then they are strengthening "our own freedoms" as you put it, and thus, down the line giving us more of chance of helping them should they decide they do want to be free? how far would you

  • Principals? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Fnord666 (889225) on Friday January 01, 2010 @03:01AM (#30612796) Journal

    ...Chinese cell phone market but a very large price to pay for that in principals.

    Maybe they should pay in superintendents then, or did you mean principles?

    • They figured... they'd sacrificed their principles... why not sacrifice some principals as well.

      Once you let go on a little evil, why not go ahead for the big evil and save time.

      • by russotto (537200)

        They figured... they'd sacrificed their principles... why not sacrifice some principals as well.

        Once you let go on a little evil, why not go ahead for the big evil and save time.

        It's Google which is known for "don't be evil" (and then knuckled under to China anyway rather than leave the market). Apple's unofficial motto is not "Don't be evil" but rather "Ooh, shiny!" :-).

    • Seriously! My new-year morning cobweb-covered mind was puzzled, thinking to itself, "Why are they saying *Apple* pays in 'in principals?' The Chinese struggle for freedom is constantly paying in principals, such as Wang Xiaoning, and it *is* a bitter price, but what do they have to do with Apple?" Then, uh, duh.

      (But I do love me some orthographic ambiguities. See also "smote the sledded pole-ax on the ice" vs. "smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.")

  • Read as... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2010 @03:01AM (#30612798)

    This is not profitable anyway as no one will buy this app.
    Buying this app is like bying a ticket to jail...

  • A new low? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617)

    China: You no make this app available or we no make no more cheap iPhone for you! You can make iPhone somewhere else!
    Apple: Okay... I'll do whatever you ask.

    • Re:A new low? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 01, 2010 @04:26AM (#30612854)

      Hilarious! What a great rendition of the broken English of all Chinese people! Especially those who often deal with foreign, mainly English-speaking businesses. Not a racist comment at all! Completely appropriate AND necessary for the point you're trying to make.

      Oh, sorry, I must have forgotten that I'm Chinese for a moment.

      Me love your post long time!

      • by erroneus (253617)

        I'm guessing Southpark really pisses you off too.

        Do we really have to live in a world where we can't acknowledge funny things as funny? No one needs to lecture me on linguistics. No one needs to lecture me on sensitivity. I work with an extremely diverse group of people daily, am married to a person of foreign origin and am raising a child in a multilingual environment. To me, mistakes are very often funny -- hence the name I use. One can either accept funny things as funny, or one can burn one's self

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by QuantumRiff (120817)

        Me love your post long time!

        Why are you dragging the Vietnamese into this conversation? :)

        that's a play on a quote from Full Metal Jacket, a Movie (some would say 2 movies in one) about the Vietnam War..

    • Re:A new low? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by StikyPad (445176) on Friday January 01, 2010 @04:49AM (#30612932) Homepage

      How many times do we have to go through this nonsense?

      Pick your battles. Isolationism, the result of failing to abide by foreign laws, is a losing strategy, so it would be foolish for US corporations not to compromise. In exchange for compliance with the law -- law that won't change as a result of failure to comply on the part of foreign corporations -- we have the presence of US companies, services, and products in China, which is beneficial both economically and (in the long run) socially and politically.

      Or do you turn down a paycheck every time you feel a superior didn't respect your values enough?

      That's what I thought...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "we have the presence of US companies, services, and products in China, which is beneficial both economically and (in the long run) socially and politically."

        Beneficial socially and politically? Funny, the presence of US corporations has not done much for the citizens of Saudi Arabia, who continue to be persecuted by their government. What reason is there to think that the Chinese will magically see better lives just because US corporations happen to operate in China? Particularly since those corporat
  • Think Different? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 01, 2010 @03:05AM (#30612814)
    Guess that ruins that campaign [flickr.com] then.
    • pwned.  nice.  damn!
    • by node 3 (115640) on Friday January 01, 2010 @05:57AM (#30613128)

      Guess that ruins that campaign then.

      Not really. In America (and other places, I'm sure) we're still allowed, by the government[*], to Think Different. But in China, the government (not Apple) outlaws thinking different.

      [*] Well, for the most part.

      • by russotto (537200)

        Not really. In America (and other places, I'm sure) we're still allowed, by the government[*], to Think Different. But in China, the government (not Apple) outlaws thinking different.

        China's not Oceania; there's no thoughtcrime there. You can think as different as you want, as long as you keep your mouth shut about it.

  • Freedom! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kurt555gs (309278) <(kurt555gs) (at) (ovi.com)> on Friday January 01, 2010 @04:19AM (#30612826) Homepage

    Some here have commented about my enthusiasm of the Nokia N900, and this would be a perfect example. With Maemo5 as the OS, NO ONE but you decides what or how you will operate this device.

    TO me, this in it's self means an awful lot!

  • How there they... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tharsman (1364603) on Friday January 01, 2010 @04:26AM (#30612850)

    How dare Apple even consider obeying local laws!? What next? Underage sex censorship just because most countries dislike it? What about freedom?!!

    Sarcasm aside, what do you expect? Apple has to obey the country laws. Free speech is not a right in China, no matter how much we think everyone should have it, it just isn't. It's like Britain and Canada insulting the US for not offering it's people the right of socialized medicine.

    • If we hold the right to criticize Google and Yahoo, we also hold the right to criticize any and every corporate doing the same shit. Where were you when we discussed this earlier??? Fanboism is one thing, defending them no matter what is... wait - it's the same thing.
      • by node 3 (115640)

        If we hold the right to criticize Google and Yahoo, we also hold the right to criticize any and every corporate doing the same shit. Where were you when we discussed this earlier??? Fanboism is one thing, defending them no matter what is... wait - it's the same thing.

        You're calling Tharsman out for being a hypocrite. Do you have any comments of his where he complains about Google and Yahoo caving into the Chinese government? If not, then what's the basis for your post?

      • by Bartab (233395)

        I hereby criticize you for criticizing Apple, Google, Yahoo and others for relenting to the monopoly on the initiation of force present in sovereign States such as China.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Sarcasm aside, what do you expect? Apple has to obey the country laws.

      Apple doesn't have to operate in China. If it doesn't do so, it doesn't have to obey the laws that are clearly immoral (by our standards).

      Of course, this is rather moot anyway so long as China remains the #1 manufacturer fueling the consumerist society in the West. You can't in good faith buy Chinese-made goods in Walmart, and then complain that Apple (or Google, or whoever) wants to be a part of Chinese market, too.

    • Indeed, Rosa Parks should have obeyed the law and leave her seat to other people... according to your thoughts, no?

      Sometimes you have to stand up against certain things.

    • by transami (202700)

      There is a difference. Freedom of Speech is considered a fundamental right. When we compromise our principles for others we risk loosing them for ourselves.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      Free speech is not a right in China, no matter how much we think everyone should have it, it just isn't.

      Rights are not given by the state, they are recognized. You should have said:
      Free speech is not a recognized right in China, no matter how much we think everyone should have it, China attempts to control speech.

  • Oh FFS Slashdot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GF678 (1453005) on Friday January 01, 2010 @04:29AM (#30612866)

    but a very large price to pay for that in principals

    This is not how businesses work. You either comply with the laws of a country or you don't get to do business. It's not the modus operandi of corporations to fight for principals.

    Do people writing these summaries not understand how the real world works?

    • Or alternatively, people who "naively" write these summaries are those who know exactly how the world works -- hordes of naive people on slashdot would take the bait hence extra page hits.

      Honestly this stuff is getting old. No company in China is going to survive a second if they allow these "political sensitive" stuff to be published uncensored....

    • by lee1 (219161)
      In the case of Google ('don't be evil'), the situation is more complex [lee-phillips.org]. For example, they have agreed to remove content from YouTube to satisfy the demands of the Pakistani government, who objected to videos that were critical of Islam. Google applies this censorship within the U.S., where no law requires it.
  • I keep telling people that these "American Companies" aren't American at all. Fewer and fewer of their worker's are American, their ideals are not American and their tax revenue isn't reported in America.

    As a people, we need to take back America

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tpgp (48001)

      I keep telling people that these "American Companies" aren't American at all. Fewer and fewer of their worker's are American, their ideals are not American and their tax revenue isn't reported in America.

      I think that you'll find that a large chunk of the profits go to Americans.

  • Not just China.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GrBear (63712) on Friday January 01, 2010 @04:35AM (#30612890)

    Guess what, Apple doesn't allow Canadians to purchase certain apps, movies and albums either.

    It's called different laws for different markets.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tangentc (1637287)

      To be fair, those are most likely due to copyright and license concerns, and not censorship, so it's not really the same.

      Still, I don't think this is terribly surprising and I fail to see why people are shocked. China is a HUGE market, especially in technology. Any profit seeking entity has a lot to gain there, and would be extremely irresponsible to their shareholders if they weren't to do whatever they had to to get into the market.

      I don't mean to say I approve of censorship, I'm just saying that it isn't

      • by aussie_a (778472) on Friday January 01, 2010 @06:56AM (#30613318) Journal

        It is business as usual. But the moment people start accepting reality is the moment we all give up. After all, what if people hadn't cared that your taxes went to some foreign king across the ocean that none of you would probably never see. What if they had said "such is life" and simply moved on with their lives? You'd still be part of the British Empire, or perhaps worse, part of some other country's empire that overthrew Britain in a world-spanning war.

        The moment you go "eh, not surprising" is the moment the oppressors win.

        • by fnj (64210)

          Alas, there are no Thomas Paines any more in the US, let alone in China.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Honestly, I don't think any of you truly care. I know I don't. Apple is just a corporation, it can, for better or for worse, sell what it likes, when it likes, where it likes, as long as it doesn't break any laws doing so. Even if it does, there's not much that could happen to it, other than a small fine.

    If any of you are so enraged, stop buying Apple products (easy enough for you GNU/Linux, "my kernel don't taint" bigots), and go and protest against this in whatever way you see fit. Please, if you have a s

  • by rastoboy29 (807168) on Friday January 01, 2010 @05:47AM (#30613092) Homepage
    I've never given Google or Yahoo a free pass on this issue, and I don't plan on buying AAPL stock any more, either.

    I'm not willing to make money from asshole behavior, at least knowingly.

    I believe it is against the *long term* interests of these companies to knuckle under to this sort of thing.  Simply don't operate in China.  Or do Sergei and Steve not have enough billions?  Bah.
  • Principles (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tangent3 (449222) on Friday January 01, 2010 @06:43AM (#30613282)

    Looking at the comments around, I'd say it seems far easier to demand that someone else follow your set of principles... than to follow them yourself.

  • Stupid (Score:3, Insightful)

    by anonieuweling (536832) on Friday January 01, 2010 @06:49AM (#30613300)
    There's stupid comments about local laws.
    It appears that people do not discern any difference between laws and ethics.
    Not everything that is forbidden by law is unethical.
    Not all that is bad is forbidden by law.
    And companies without the least of a spine are dime-a-dozen.
    What is apple doing to explain the chinese that this is 'not so nice'?
    Same for other situations that are in the way of truly free markets? (yes, markets aren't free, even yours isn't free)
  • There's a difference.

  • by evilsofa (947078) on Friday January 01, 2010 @08:01AM (#30613456)
    You would think from this thread that Apple has never advocated for human rights in China:
    http://www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility/ [apple.com]
    Isn't it better for Apple to do it that way than to piss off the country that manufactures nearly everything Apple sells?
  • Here in America we can stop these censoring nations. We can revoke the business permits for any company inside the US that practices doing business with censoring nations. We might also consider criminal charges for violations of human rights for anyone who causes or contributes to censorship up to and including US officials who seek to censor porn within the US.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday January 01, 2010 @08:30AM (#30613494) Homepage Journal

    i mean, let go of some principles. like, respecting copyright ownership, patent rights and so on and pirate their products like there is no tomorrow. i bet they would go berserk if we did that wouldnt they. and maybe they deserve such a hypocrisy for their own hypocrisy.

  • by flyneye (84093) on Friday January 01, 2010 @09:10AM (#30613600) Homepage

    This sort of news isn't surprising to anyone. You'd have to live in a cave under a rock not to realize Google and Yahoo would both feed a dead rat sandwich to their mothers if it meant a pennys profit.

  • If Chinese love freedom, this problem will solve itself.

  • Microsoft? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Friday January 01, 2010 @11:08AM (#30614110) Journal
    Hmmm. I seem to recall that Microsoft was the first search engine to cave into Chinese demand to censorship, as well as turning over their source code to China, and that Google at least showed that a link was censored. So, why is it, that MS is not mentioned in the header?
  • Let's see here... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Friday January 01, 2010 @12:43PM (#30614642) Homepage

    Apple (along with any other company in its position) can do business in China according to its laws, Break China's laws, or refuse to do business in China. Only one of these options is guaranteed to make these companies money. If you think they're going to choose idealism over cash, you have some high-grade pot at your disposal.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

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