How Does Apple Enforce Communist Party Religious Censorship in China?
Apple has just removed several religious apps from the App Store of China, a move denying millions what the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) say are “unauthorized religious materials” and are forbidden by their religious censorship laws.
The CCP is officially atheist, but recognizes five religions and condones only authorized churches like the Three Self Church or Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association which are both run by the state. Those attending unsanctioned churches, like the Protestant “house churches” are regularly persecuted. Those in unsanctioned religions are imprisoned for “reeducation,” as is the case with the Uyghur Muslims, over one million estimated to be interned in camps throughout Xinjiang.
Since 2018 religious books like the Bible and Quran were banned and confiscated in China, allowing only versions published by the CCP. Through its censorship, Apple is now aiding China’s repressive censorship policy by removing religious apps from the App Store in China because they include unauthorized versions of the Bible and the Quran.
Apple, though founded and based in the United States, has a massive presence in China with 228 million iPhones sold (compared to 120 million sold in the United States), which contributes substantially to making them the most profitable company on Earth. Apple’s recent censorship is tantamount to collusion with the CCP denying religious freedom to millions.
This is also a stark change from Apple’s early days, which launched its brand with a Superbowl ad evoking George Orwell’s 1984, a work of speculative fiction which depicts an extreme authoritarian future where the “Ministry of Truth” is dedicated to “correcting” all books, newspapers and media to reflect state endorsed “truth.” In this ad, Apple depicted the dark gray halls of the Ministry and a young heroine running through them, bright in her white shirt and red shorts against the stark background, wielding a sledgehammer. She enters the assembly of party members mesmerized by Big Brother on a massive screen, pronouncing: “Today we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created for the first time in all history a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests of any contradictory true thoughts.” The heroine hurls the sledgehammer through the screen, ending the message of Big Brother and releasing the members from their trance. The message following that is simply: “You’ll see why 1984, won’t be like ‘1984’,” a mission statement which Apple, in their collusion with the CCP, has abandoned.