According to RFA, on December 5, two Chinese students started a hunger strike outside Apple’s new headquarters building. They put up four main demands to Apple, including the following:
1. An end to Foxconn’s abuse of Chinese workers;
2. A total return of the AirDrop function for Chinese users;
3. Put an end to Chinese AppStore application censorship;
4. Denounce the CCP’s widespread detention of Uighurs.
They printed an image of an apple dripping blood on the posters they displayed nearby. A hunger striker, Wang Han said that throughout the blank white paper revolution and several earlier actions, it could be seen that Apple supported the Chinese government and worked against the interests of freedom and human rights for the Chinese people.
Fortune said Apple has a different policy for its products in China and the U.S. Apple products in the U.S. market are guaranteed quality and functionality. In China, it’s the other way around.
The hunger strike of these two Chinese students will continue until the following Monday, December 12, and they plan to incorporate a global protest against Apple initiated by Hong Kong activists next Saturday, December 10, “World Human Rights Day .”They’ve created a group on Telegram to stream live events in real-time in the hopes that more people would join the action. They received a lot of online support, and even someone rushed to the scene.
According to CNBC, on November 9, an update to Apple’s mobile operating system restricted the use of AirDrop in the Chinese market. The upgrade makes it more challenging to spread such photographs broadly in China by automatically disabling sharing for those who are not in their contacts after 10 minutes.
In recent years, protesters’ efforts to bypass content censorship using AirDrop, which enables users to exchange files between Apple devices. This is possible because it depends on Bluetooth connection between phones rather than internet connectivity.
During the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2019, the application was widely utilized by protesters to communicate with bystanders and visitors from the Chinese mainland and distribute protest material.
Rep. Michael Waltz, tweeted on November 29 that by preventing AirDrop on iPhones that are only offered in Mainland China, Tim Cook acts as an apologist for a dictatorship and contributes to the silencing of Chinese demonstrators.