Han Wang, a graduate student of the University of Southern California, began his hunger strike at Apple's Cupertino, California headquarters on Dec. 5. Local San Francisco press outlets reported that he was later joined by several protesters. They rallied against the multinational company's AirDrop functionality restrictions on Chinese iPhones and the censorship of free speech on platforms like the Chinese App Store.
Wang and his fellow protesters are calling on Apple to stop labor exploitation at its Foxconn iPhone plant, where around 70 percent of the iPhones that Apple sells are assembled. The rallyists are also asking the firm to publicly take a stance on the persecution and mass incarceration of Uyghurs. A bigger protest later took place at Apple Park on Dec. 10, coinciding with the United Nations Human Rights Day.
The controversy around the AirDrop file-sharing service started when an iOS update restricted AirDrop sharing features only in the Chinese market. The update, which was launched on Nov. 9, set a fixed 10-minute limit to accept files from everyone.
"In China, people are only allowed to use AirDrop for 10 minutes. It's ridiculous, and it only happened after one week of the A4 Revolutions," Wang told NTD, referring to the protests in the mainland where fed-up citizens held blank sheets of paper. "I don't think it's a coincidence."
The current protests in China against paramount leader Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) saw AirDrop being extensively used. Several tech websites reported that following Wang's hunger strike in Cupertino, Apple is expanding the 10-minute AirDrop limit to all users with iOS 16.2. The company explained that the limit sought to cut down on spam sent in crowded areas like malls.
Chinese citizens fed up with almost three years of "zero-COVID" are taking extraordinary risks by gathering for mass protests against heavily restrictive Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) policies. The world is also watching as the situation unfold in the mainland. (Related: Rare nationwide protests erupt across China to challenge CCP's zero-COVID policy.)
People were chanting "Xi Jinping, step down," "Communist party, step down" and "Unlock Xinjiang, unlock China" in major economic areas, the country's capital city Beijing and the financial hub Shanghai. Some of them were holding blank pieces of paper to protest against the tough COVID-19 policies, including mass testing, quarantines and snap lockdowns for the past three years.
The blank paper is reported to be a statement about protesters being silenced and also to taunt the authorities as they cannot be arrested for holding signs saying anything.
"The white paper represents everything we want to say but cannot say," said 26-year-old Johnny, who took part in one of the Liangma River gatherings.
The said protests were reported to be triggered by a fire back in November in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang, which killed at least 10 people and injured nine in an apartment building. People were enraged as lockdown measures delayed firefighters from reaching the victims.
DemonicApple.news has more stories about the tech giant's involvement in censorship and collusion with China.
Watch Jennifer Zeng explain the seven features of the A4 Revolution happening in China.
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