A Republican congressman lashed out at Tim Cook for giving an interview earlier this month to a Chinese state-owned media entity in which the Apple chief executive praised China’s software and app developers as “inspiring” and “innovative.”
“With more than 5 million Chinese developers and counting, there is no question that China has one of the most vibrant developer communities in the entire world,” Cook told China Daily in a June 16 video interview that was posted on the publication’s YouTube site.
Cook said that his encounters with Chinese developers leave him “impressed by [their] creativity and passion for using technology to enrich people’s lives.”
The Apple boss was effusive in his praise of China’s small developers who “have seen their revenues almost doubled in just over two years.”
“This is phenomenal,” Cook said. The Apple CEO took time to speak on the sidelines of this month’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.
“I can’t tell you how inspired I am by the innovation and creativity you brought to your work throughout the entire pandemic,” he said.
“You really poured your heart and souls into delivering incredible apps that help people stay active and entertained and productive, learning and healthy.”
Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) was infuriated by Cook’s gushing interview, particularly in light of Apple’s image in the US as a progressive company that supported the Black Lives Matter movement as well as other mainstream liberal positions on various issues.
Waltz and other critics of Apple claim that while the company and other firms with extensive business ties to China are quick to criticize American faults, they have nothing to say about Beijing’s human rights abuses, including its mass detention of Uyghur Muslims.
“This further underscores the hypocrisy of corporate America, which preaches social justice at home and turns a blind eye when it comes to its profits,” Waltz told the Washington Free Beacon.
“It’s absolutely shameful an American CEO would sit down with a communist, genocide-denying propaganda rag like China Daily.”
The Post has reached out to Apple seeking a response to Waltz’s comments.
According to Cook, Chinese software developers make up one-sixth of Apple’s 30-million-strong workforce of registered app engineers worldwide.
Cook has stayed in the good graces of the Chinese Communist Party, enabling Apple to rake in billions in profits.
In 2016, Cook personally met with Chinese officials in Beijing and pledged to invest $275 billion into the local economy over a five-year period.
In exchange, the Chinese authorities would allow Apple to freely do business on the mainland, according to The Information (paywall).
Cook’s diplomacy has allowed Apple to boast of being one of the few American tech giants that is permitted to operate in the world’s most populous nation.
Tech behemoths like Google, Facebook, Twitch, Zoom, Twitter, and LinkedIn are blocked in mainland China due to the government’s stringent censorship demands.
In May 2021, The Information (paywall) reported that seven of Apple’s suppliers were linked to alleged forced labor operations in the Xinjiang region.
Apple has repeatedly stated that it has “zero tolerance” for forced labor within its supply chain.