Sen. Marco Rubio says Apple bending to Chinese authoritarianism to gain market access

in General Discussion
Speaking at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio took Apple CEO Tim Cook to task for his policies on China, accusing him of hypocrisy when it comes to the company's stated values.

"So again, here's an example of a company, in my view, so desperate to have access to the Chinese marketplace that they are willing to follow the laws of that country even if those laws run counter to what those companies' own standards are supposed to be," Rubio said during the hearing, titled "The Long Arm of China: Exporting Authoritarianism With Chinese Characteristics." The comments were spotted by 9to5Mac.

"And a good example for the United States and for our people, how some of these individuals like to come here and lecture us about free speech and human rights and domestic problems, then go abroad and are fully cooperative on some grotesque violation of human rights because there's a lot of money to be made, and they don't want to offend their host country," Rubio continued.

The senator drew special attention to Cook's recent appearance at the World Internet Conference, an event organized by the Chinese government and intended to promote its desire for a more strictly controlled internet. The CEO made broad references to some of Apple's priorities in the West -- such as privacy -- but skirted any potentially confrontational positions.

"The most confusing part of it all is that Apple CEO Tim Cook stood up at that conference and he celebrated China's vision of an open internet," Rubio said. "He delivered the keynote speech on the opening day of that gathering."

Apple and other U.S. corporations have often been accused of being quick to agree to Chinese government demands, owing to the size of the market and the presence of key suppliers. Apple for instance has pulled VPN titles from the App Store, and established a local data center -- making it easier for the government to access and control user data if it's deemed necessary.

Rubio is a Republican, but Cook has also faced criticism from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who said Apple has a "moral obligation" to resist China's surveillance and censorship. Apple has claimed that it makes a difference simply by being in other countries, and Cook in particular has defended his World Internet Conference appearance.

"Your choice is: do you participate, or do you stand on the sideline and yell at how things should be," he said in a recent interview. "And my own view very strongly is you show up and you participate, you get in the arena because nothing ever changes from the sideline."


  • Reply 1 of 17
    I smell a very sour sentiment from someone who is not doing what he's asking people to do.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    mike54mike54 Posts: 347member
    Marco Rubio lives in his own bubble world. He alot to learn about the world, but maybe learn what your own country is doing first will be a start.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    Sounds like he’s starting his presidential bid early.

    So, next week Mr. Rubio is going to call for cutting off all ties Saudi Arabia right?

    That’s what I thought...

    Situational morality.  Business leaders are good at it, politicians are masters.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Another one crawling out of the woodwork from that lowlife-infestation called the US Senate...
  • Reply 5 of 17
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,494member
    In Rubio’s world, being flexible and obeying other country’s laws is a bad thing. That’s pretty stupid stuff from a reasonably smart guy. 
  • Reply 6 of 17
    jd_in_sb said:
    .... a reasonably smart guy. 
    Really? “I-am-not-a-scientist” Rubio?
  • Reply 7 of 17
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,807member
    Sounds like he’s starting his presidential bid early.

    That or he's auditioning to Mike Pence's VP when Trump goes.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    This one is too easy, I’ll pass...
  • Reply 9 of 17
    Rubio? This guy has taken so much money from “donors” he needs to shut it. Seriously. He’s Never and I mean Never made a decision that affects “his” money...
  • Reply 10 of 17
    ben20ben20 Posts: 120member
    Another one crawling out of the woodwork from that lowlife-infestation called the US Senate...
    Senator Rubio has a point here. Apple has a double standard. What is your problem with that?
  • Reply 11 of 17
    ben20 said:
    Another one crawling out of the woodwork from that lowlife-infestation called the US Senate...
    Senator Rubio has a point here. Apple has a double standard. What is your problem with that?
    My ‘problem’ with Apple obeying the law?

    Perhaps you may be the one with a problem. 
  • Reply 12 of 17
    larryalarrya Posts: 551member
    Iben20 said:
    Another one crawling out of the woodwork from that lowlife-infestation called the US Senate...
    Senator Rubio has a point here. Apple has a double standard. What is your problem with that?
    Or is it Rubio who has the double standard?  He is in a position to actually affect policy. He could start an effort to remove most favored nation status from China if he feels they are repressing free expression.  He could advocate for human rights throughout the world.  His party controls the entire government and could pass legislation tomorrow.  But no, he will abdicate his responsibility and criticize a computer manufacturer for not managing US foreign policy. 
    leavingthebiggmacky the mackybshankmwhiteRacerhomieXchasmspice-boyforegoneconclusionGeorgeBMacdysamoria
  • Reply 13 of 17
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 358member
    Yay capitalism?

    otoh just the sort of thing the TPP would have had weight to correct. Gathering 40% of the worlds gdp to confront China. But: no. 
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 14 of 17
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 299member
    Talking about the pot calling the kettle black!  If China’s repressive regime is to be fought because of principles, why is the US selling treasuries to the Chinese?  China is the largest buyer of US debt.  Why isn’t the US refusing to sell them to China?
  • Reply 15 of 17
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,009member
    Amazing!  He is using the same logic that US Congress used to pass Chinese Exclusion Act in the nineteen century. Is Chinese Exclusion Act that US government exercising authoritarianism? And the argument was Chinese do not have the white people value.  What values? Like an old President pinching a young woman buttock? What about free expression of terrorists? I don't read the US media dare to say what the terroists have in mind against United States. The US can suppress free expression if it deems a group pose a threat to the security of US.  Why can't Chinese government do the same?  This is the double standard. 
  • Reply 16 of 17
    Is Rubio trying to punish Apple or China?
  • Reply 17 of 17
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,009member
    Is Rubio trying to punish Apple or China?
    He wants Apple to punish China. 
This discussion has been closed.