According to reports, US Senators Ted Cruz and Patrick Leahy sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook last week, demanding that the company explain why it removed Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps from its China App Store in July. They said Apple's move "may be enabling the Chinese government's censorship and surveillance of the Internet," and "does not enable people in China to 'speak up.'"
It's funny that the senators are showing such concerns. As Cook said, Apple will follow the law in whichever country it does business. Isn't this common sense? Why would the senators assume that Apple can be so powerful as to defy a country's authority?
US officials often lambast China's so-called violation of freedom of speech. But freedom always has conditions attached. While the US trumpets its defense of freedom, will it approve an overseas company to do business in its country without abiding by US laws? Apparently not. As Confucius said thousands of years ago, "What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others."
The campaign by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology which began in January to better manage cyberspace doesn't mean an overall prohibition of VPN services. All businesses operating within China are required to properly register with the authorities and those with a website need to obtain an Internet Content Provider license and display it at the bottom of their website. In other words, only businesses and individuals that have not properly registered are targeted, and the new measures will not affect law-abiding ones.
Besides, the Apple Watch was suspended in China recently. Analysts say that its independent cellular connection, which allows people to make voice calls and send and receive text and data without a wired connection to an iPhone, poses a challenge to Chinese authorities' regulation of mobile phones, according to the Wall Street Journal. This means that a company operating in China must comply with Chinese technological regulations.
These Chinese measures, like many other laws and regulations, have fully considered the country's reality and aim to ensure the stability and orderly development of Chinese society. But there are often people in other countries who overstep the boundary as a backseat driver, passionate about finding fault with China. They may have ignored the fact that Chinese citizens don't decide US laws as Americans also can't decide China's.
US officials are used to pointing their figures at and imposing their will on other countries. Such a conceited mentality has to change. Since the US has been saddled with problems that need to be fixed immediately, the senators had better focus on their own business.