A highly critical proposal on Apple’s cooperation with the Chinese government was presented at the annual shareholders’ meeting. This concerns in particular the removal of certain applications from the App Store.
As the Reuters report said, although the proposal did not get enough votes to force Apple to take new positions towards China, shareholder pressure on this point is increasing day by day.
The proposal called on Apple to publicly acknowledge that it would commit to respecting freedom of expression as a human right. In particular, the shareholders who tabled the proposal pointed out that Apple had removed all VPN apps from the Chinese App Store in 2017, because users in China could bypass certain government restrictions.
Apple objected to the proposal, saying it already provides a lot of data on removal requests on the App Store. However, it seems that more and more shareholders want Apple to behave differently towards China, by better protecting citizens and human rights. In fact, many believe that these behaviors can harm a company's reputation and have economic consequences in the future.
However, Apple has already committed to providing more details on all efforts read freedom of expression as a fundamental human right . This means that, despite today's position, Apple is working behind the scenes to offer more information on relations with China.