FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2020
Dorjee Tseten | firstname.lastname@example.org | (646) 753-3889
[Requests concerning the Apple Shareholder Resolution and Meeting]
Jamila Brown | email@example.com | +1-347-694-8546
[New York] Ahead of Apple’s annual shareholder meeting, seven Tibet activists—including a Tibetan monk—staged a dramatic “ALARM: Stop Apple Censorship” protest at Apple’s flagship store in New York. The action was in solidarity with human rights and freedom of expression advocates urging shareholders at today’s Apple AGM to vote for a resolution  requiring Apple to disclose the censorship requests made to the company by repressive governments—notably the government of China— and the actions Apple takes that would limit freedom of expression.
At 9 a.m. EST, as part of “ALARM: Stop Apple Censorship,” the activists set an urgent alarm on around 50 iPhones in Apple’s flagship store in Manhattan. Geshe Kunkhen, a Tibetan monk resident in New York, also led a prayer session inside the store calling on Apple to stand on the right side of history and end their actions that enable China’s extreme crackdown on the rights of Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, and Chinese people. Handheld placards included, “Apple stop supporting China’s crackdown on freedom and spying on Tibetans and Hong Kongers” and “In a few hours, Apple Shareholders will be voting on Proposal 6. A vote for proposal 6 is a vote for free expression. Apple needs to stand up for Freedom and Human Rights.”
“By removing “virtual private networks” (VPNs) from its Chinese App Store, Apple is directly aiding the Chinese government’s crackdown on Tibetans in Tibet, putting their lives in serious danger of imprisonment and torture,” said Dorjee Tseten, Executive Director, Students for a Free Tibet. “Giving in to China’s demands sends the wrong message to other companies being targeted and bullied by the Chinese government. Today, we call on the Apple leadership and shareholders to make the morally conscious decision and immediately reinstate VPNs in China’s App Store.”
“Apple cannot both champion itself as a leader in the fight for freedom of expression and enable its products to be used by the Chinese government to surveil and censor Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, and Chinese people,” said Geshe Kunken. “I pray for Apple shareholders today to make the right decision and pass Proposal 6. Apple’s leadership must be more transparent and ensure the App Store lives up to the Apple brand and allows free and open internet access for all of its users.”
Today at the Apple AGM in Cupertino, CA, Tibetan-American Sonamtso will address Apple shareholders and leadership. “Apple’s removal of VPNs has directly aided the Chinese government’s crackdown on Tibetans, Uyghurs, and other human rights defenders,” said Sonamtso. “These actions have significantly limited the freedom of expression of millions of people.” Sonamtso will urge shareholders to vote Yes on Proposal 6 that would provide more transparency with regard to Apple’s App Store decisions. This includes publicly reporting on the company’s commitment to freedom of expression as a human right, the mechanisms by which this commitment would be upheld, and the actions Apple has taken at the request of governments and third-parties that would limit freedom of expression.
- “Stop Apple Censorship” is a joint campaign by International Tibet Network, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Action Institute, SumOfUs, World Uyghur Congress, GreatFire.org, Campaign for Uyghurs, and Free Tibet. See https://stopapplecensorship.online/