Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc., and China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua (R) visit a China Mobile shop to celebrate the launch of iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C on China Mobile’s fourth generation (4G) network on January 17, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Apple Inc. and China Mobile Limited, the world’s largest carrier with over 760 million subscribers, signed a deal on December 23, 2013 after six years of negotiations.
One shareholder however doesn’t share the euphoria.
According to the Mercury News, a Bay Area man with a small stake in the world’s largest technology company is fighting to put human rights front and center throughout Apple’s global operations — and he’ll soon find out whether other Apple shareholders back his plan.
Jing Zhao of Concord — a long-time proponent of human rights measures aimed at holding technology companies accountable for their actions around the world — has proposed that Apple should create a human rights committee to “review, assess, disclose, and make recommendations to enhance Apple’s policy and practice on human rights,” according to Apple’s proxy statement, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.
In his supporting statement, Zhao listed Apple’s decision in July that took down hundreds of virtual private network apps in its Chinese App Store for iPhones. The move led to an inquiry from two U.S. senators on whether Apple is enabling Beijing’s internet censorship and other human rights violations. (Which of course they are.)
Naturally, Apple’s board has recommended a vote against Zhao’s proposal.
Zhao, who owns at least $2,000 in Apple stock, has been a minor, but extremely persistent voice in raising human rights actions with tech companies.
Zhao, a researcher who runs an independent think tank called US-Japan-China Comparative Policy Research Institute (CPRI), has made at least 36 human rights-related proposals to Silicon Valley companies since 2010 and made proposals to Apple every year since at least 2015, according to fellow Apple investor James McRitchie.
They have all been ignored. Apple just wants money. They could care less how many people they brutalize in Asia.