Apple has released a document to reaffirm its commitment to the protection of civil rights, in particular freedom of expression. The letter, which is four pages long and begins with a quote from administrator Tim Cook, was published in response to protests from a group of investors, called SumOfUs, that Apple is making too many concessions to the Chinese Communist Party's censorship: for example, it removed VPN apps from the App Store, and moved the iCloud data of Chinese citizens to government-controlled datacenters; more recently it has been debating the removal of apps like HKMap, used by activists to coordinate and secure themselves during the Hong Kong protests.
Apple says "people come first" and maintains an optimistic attitude about the future of technology, but at the same time it doesn't expect things in China to change anytime soon. Apple follows local laws and will have to continue to "shut down" its devices further until they change. SumOfUs expressed satisfaction with the declaration, which came after repeated motions by the group itself, but still has requests: for example, it would like reports on an annual basis that illustrate in detail how requests that restrict freedom of expression are handled. The plan is to file a motion on this in the 2021 investor meeting, which is generally held in February.
The document, in English, can be read in full by following the SOURCE link below. It is a PDF file.