The world’s biggest company, Apple Inc., has blocked the American comedy show, China Uncensored (Youtube), from its Apple TV app store in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as in mainland China.
“I totally understand why we’re blocked in mainland China. We’re clearly disrupting the Communist Party’s harmonious propaganda,” said Chris Chappell, creator and host of China Uncensored (Youtube). “But Hong Kong and Taiwan are not supposed to be under Chinese law.”
Hong Kong and Taiwan both have independent legal systems from mainland China, and allow freedom of speech and press. Host Chris Chappell traveled to both regions in 2016 to interview officials and meet with fans.
China Uncensored (Youtube) is an English-language television comedy show distributed by NTD, a non-profit television station founded by Chinese Americans to be an alternative voice to China’s state-run propaganda media. Viewers have described China Uncensored as “like The Daily Show, but about China.”
China Uncensored is often critical of the Chinese Communist Party and its authoritarian rule, including arresting dissidents, persecuting religious minorities, and directing its military to hack US companies.
Apple approved the China Uncensored Apple TV app in March 2017 for availability in most of the world, but removed it from app stores in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Potential legal action
In this letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Chris Chappell asked him to un-remove China Uncensored from app stores in Hong Kong and Taiwan within thirty days, or face potential legal action.
“Is Apple so scared of the Chinese Communist Party that it would censor China Uncensored in Hong Kong and Taiwan, just in case?” asked Chris Chappell. “Or is Apple just confused about which places belong to China and this was all an accident? They should probably consult a lawyer, like we’ve done.”
China Uncensored (Youtube) launched a petition at www.chinauncensored.tv/petition to ask viewers to call on Apple Inc. to uncensor its TV app in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Apple Inc. is the world’s largest company. Its annual revenue is greater than the GDP of most nations, and so is its political power.
Apple sees China as a key market, as it now sells more iPhones there than in the US.
Apple may also be affected by potential new US trade policy, an issue that President Trump has said he will focus on at his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping later this week.
China Uncensored first aired in 2012 on YouTube, where it now has more than 400,000 subscribers. Its viewers are mostly in North America, with a growing number in Hong Kong and Taiwan. China Uncensored (Youtube) publishes three episodes each week. It is also available on downloadable apps for the newest versions of Roku and Amazon Fire TV, as well as online at www.ChinaUncensored.tv.