Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Chronicle of China's State Run Media Attacks on Apple in 2013, With Some Historical Perspective

On March 15, 2013, state-sponsored China Central Television (CCTV) aired its annual Consumer Rights Day special investigative report. Companies targeted included:
  • Netease (Internet privacy)
  • Sina (Online Pop-up ads)
  • AutoNavi (Mobile app privacy)
  • Volkswagen (Defective transmissions)
  • Apple (Computer warranty)
This post covers how China's state-run media dealt with this issue, as well as how it has previously dealt with past issues regarding Chinese consumers and high tech companies.

2009 Attack on Google for Porn

On January 5, 2009, the State Council Information Office, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology,  Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Culture, State Administration for Industry and Commerce, State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, and General Administration of Press and Publication held a teleconference to announce that their agencies were launching a “Campaign to Rectify Internet Indecency.” Cai Mingzhao chaired the meeting. The MPS was represented by deputy director Zhang Xinfeng, the MIIT by deputy director Xi Guohua, the MOC by deputy minister Ding Wei, the SAIC by assistant director Liu Fan, the SARFT by assistant director Tian Jin, and the GAPP by assistant director Sun Shoushan. The same day the SCIO's web site published an article entitled "Seven Agencies Launch Crackdown on Prurient Internet Trends" (七部委开展整治互联网低俗之风专项行动), which cited Cai Mingzhao as stating:
Some websites exploit gaps in policies and regulations and try to dodge responsibility, they use various means to disseminate content that is low brow and vulgar, even obscene, severely corrupting the online atmosphere. Online indecency is spreading unchecked, and is seriously harming the physical and mental health of a large number of young people, it is a disaster for numerous households, endangering posterity and directly harming the personal interests of the masses. All aspects of society are focused on this, and the reaction of the masses is strong, with many parents calling out to “save the children,” and strongly demanding the Party and the government to adopt resolute measures to resolve the problem.
The same day, the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre issued a list of 19 websites with “a large quantity of indecent content that violates social mores and harms the physical and mental health of the youth.” Topping the list are Google, Baidu, Sina, Sohu, Tencent, NetEase, Chinaren.com, and Zhongsou.com.

On January 6, Baidu, Google, NetEase (youdao.com), Sina, Sohu (sogou.com), and Tencent (soso.com) issued statements regarding their inclusion on the government’s list of websites with pornographic content. Some excerpts:

Baidu - http://www.eeo.com.cn/2009/0108/126673.shtml
With respect to [the CIIIRC's report], we feel deeply guilty, and immediately adopted measures to remove related indecent content and links, and at the same time also improved our oversight mechanisms. We apologize to Internet users for any negative social impact this has had.
For some time now, Baidu has taken as its responsibility the promotion of progressing civilized society by providing Internet users equal and convenient access to knowledge and information. As an Internet company with a social conscience, we will persevere to clean up the Internet environment and build a civilized Internet that will promote the healthy development of the industry. We hope that Internet users will continue to support and watch us.
Google - http://googlechinablog.com/2009/01/blog-post_5823.html
After we received the relevant government notice, we immediately made it a priority and worked all night to launch an examination in accordance with the campaign's demand: “clean up indecent content links that may have an adverse affect on Internet users.”
With respect to the problems indicated by the reporting center, and because of the influence this may have, we take it very seriously, we will certainly examine everything, and operate our Internet search business in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.
Search engines link to a sea of information, and our action plan will overcome all technical hurdles, and we will leave no stone unturned to meet the requirement to decrease harmful information, while simultaneously doing everything we can not to decrease the comprehensiveness and precision of our searches.
Google is willing to act as a law abiding corporate citizen in China. We are willing to work together with Internet users, and work with people from all walks of life to build desirable social mores and a healthy culture.
NetEase - http://news.xinhuanet.com/internet/2009-01/07/content_10615682.htm
On January 5, 2009, the CIIIRC announced the “Inaugural List Exposing Websites for Indecency,” and NetEase was reported for failing to delete indecent content newly added to “photo albums” in a timely manner. NetEase accepts this and sincerely apologizes to Internet users.
For some time now, NetEase has provided timely and accurate information to Internet users, and has taken responsibility for blocking, screening and filtering harmful indecent content. We have established a department specifically dedicated to content screening, and it operates a screening mechanism 24 hours a day. But because we were negligent in our work, we did not screen images that were newly added to “photo albums” in a sufficiently timely manner, and this lead to some indecent content not being deleted in a timely manner. We once again express our sincere regret to Internet users who were harmed because of this, and once again earnest commit to you:
NetEase will continue to strictly obey relevant national laws, regulations, and public customs, and will further strengthen our administration and examination of interactive information, and ensure that we are providing the most healthy content to Internet users. We hope that Internet users will exercise oversight over our efforts, collectively resist the trends of Internet indecency, and build a desirable online environment for the next generation.
Sina - http://news.xinhuanet.com/internet/2009-01/07/content_10615493.htm
With respect to our faults and the negative impact these faults may have had on Internet users, Sina feels deeply distressed and views this as very important. We have promptly launched a comprehensive cleanup, and are carrying out investigations, revisions, and closures of that content which has already been shown to have problems. We are strengthening content oversight procedures and requirements, and those who are responsible will be severely dealt with.
Sina would especially like to express its most sincere regrets to Internet users for the problem of indecent content on websites. We earnestly commit to you: From this day forward we will adopt effective measures to completely and thoroughly remove indecent and other harmful content, we will take the initiative against the winds of indecency, clean up the Internet environment, and work hard to build a healthy and civilized Internet culture.
Sohu - http://news.xinhuanet.com/internet/2009-01/07/content_10615520.htm
With respect to Sohu having been indicated as having the aforementioned problems [of indecent content], we feel deeply guilty. We fully recognize that, because of our negligence in our work, we did not effectively deal with indecent content on websites that violated social mores and harmed the mental and physical health of the youth, and that we brought this bad situation on ourselves. This is a departure from the values Sohu has always pursued, and is at odds with Sohu's aspirations to become responsible media outlet and corporate citizen.
With respect to this, we express our most sincere apologies to all of our readers.
. . . .
The Sohu Community Earnestly Announces: We will adopt all effective management and technical measures necessary to completely and thoroughly eliminate and block harmful information, and from today onward we are adopting the following measures:
1. In the near future Sohu Communities will prohibit the posting of URL links that are outside the Sohu domain.
2. Forums where images are posted will implement a system where images are screened prior to posting, to ensure that harmful information is eliminated at the backend.
3. When users post on high profile forums, the right to post images will be restricted to those at grade four, and oversight and management will be exercised.
4. Anyone suspected of disseminating harmful information will have their ID deleted, and it will not be restored.
5. At fixed intervals we will investigate and announce the IDs and IPs of those who maliciously post pornographic or false information, and will report them to public security agencies.
. . . .
    5、定期清查公布那些恶意发黄贴 虚假信息的id和ip,并向公安机关举报;
Tencent - http://news.xinhuanet.com/internet/2009-01/07/content_10615700.htm
On January 5, 2009, the State Council Information Office and six other government agencies launched a joint campaign to stop trends of Internet indecency. Tencent was exposed for criticism because we failed to delete newly added indecent content from image search, photo albums, and individual spaces in a timely manner. We accept this criticism and take this very seriously, and express our sincere apologies for any inconvenience that our problems have caused Internet users.
After receiving the notice, we quickly adopted measures, further strengthened our oversight teams, improved oversight work processes, and strengthened our supervision and removal work for Internet information. We earnestly commit: we will employ maximum efforts to tighten information screening mechanisms, do everything possible to stop indecent harmful information, and build a healthy and harmonious Internet space for Internet users.
On June 18, 2012, government officials meet with Google China officials and informed them that the company would be punished if it did not remove pornographic material from its website. Caijing magazine described the meeting this way in a July 7 article entitled "Google Disinfects" (谷歌“消毒”):
The atmosphere was heavy. An official read to Lee Kai-fu Chinese regulations relating to Internet content oversight - the documents were already opened to the relevant pages. After explaining that violations of these regulations could lead to detention and fines and other specified sanctions, someone demonstrated how it was possible to use Google's search engine to search for pornographic images and other content. A server who accidentally saw the web pages projected on the wall was dumbstruck.
At 5 pm the same day the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre issued a notice entitled “Vehement Condemnation of Google for Transmitting Obscene Pornographic and Indecent Content.” (强烈谴责谷歌传播淫秽色情和低俗信息) According to that notice:
In January and April of this year, the “Google China” website was twice publicly exposed by the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre for having a large quantity of links to obscene pornography and indecency. Recently, the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre has once again received reports from the public, and undertook an investigation which discovered that the “Google China” website continues to have a large quantity of obscene pornography and indecent information, including a large quantity of extremely vulgar and ugly pornographic images, videos, and text. The “Google China” website has not performed the filtering of obscene pornographic content required by China's laws and regulations, and a large quantity of foreign online obscene pornographic information has been transmitted through this website into China, in severe violation of the “National People's Congress Decision Regarding Safeguarding Internet Security” and the State Council's “Measures on the Administration of Internet Information Services,” and other laws and regulations, as well as relevant industry self-discipline standards, and this has seriously harmed the physical and emotional well-being of the youth and damaged the public interest.
The Reporting Center hereby vehemently condemns the “Google China” website, and demands that it carry out a comprehensive cleansing of obscene pornographic and indecent content. And we recommend that relevant law enforcement agencies sanction them in accordance with the law, and that Internet users continue to carry out oversight.
Later that evening, China Central Television's evening news program reported on the CIIIRC notice. Immediately thereafter, CCTV's “Focus Interview” carried an 11 minute report on Google.cn having pornographic and indecent information. The report included interviews with Zhang Jie, an official at the CIIIRC, Sen Qing and Jia Yuhong, teachers, Sun Yunxiao, the deputy director of the China Youth Development Center, and Gao Ye, who is identified as a “university student.” Gao Ye (高也) told China Central Television:
I feel that the pornographic and all this obscene information online is particularly poisonous. This poison is particularly harmful when its through links like the kind you get from Google. There's this classmate of mine who was somewhat curious about this kind of thing. So he went and clicked on pornographic websites, and during that that time he just wasn't there mentally. Then the state attacked pornographic web sites, and he did not go to those sites during that time and he got better. But afterwards he went on to discovered that he could open these Internet addresses by going through search engines with a relatively large number of users like Google with many users. After that he went back to visiting those pornographic web sites, there were so many links, and he suffered a relapse.
Also that evening, CCTV's “News 1+1” devoted a half hour to the issue of pornography on Google.

On June 22, the Southern Metropolitan Daily published an article entitled "'Focus Interview' Under Suspicion After It Interviewed Its Own Intern" (《焦点访谈》采访自己实习生遭质疑) in which it stated it had confirmed with an employee of the show that Gao Ye was in fact an intern at the program.

That same day, the China Daily published an English language article entitled “Google 'Used' in Online Porn Tiff." Some excerpts:
The recent fuss over search engine Google may be being used as justification to introduce the controversial anti-pornography filter Green Dam, a researcher and Chinese netizens say.
. . . .
Quoting the CIIIRC, a non-government agency, official national TV network CCTV last Thursday aired three programs in a row claiming Google's Chinese portal provided excessive links to pornography and "lewd" information that violated national regulations.
But none of the three programs interviewed Google for their response. Media and netizens have revealed that one of the interviewees in a prime time investigation show was the program's intern reporter.
The program could not be reached yesterday, but sources said crews were given little time to finish the report, which was suggested by government officials.
On June 23, China's state run media issues a series of reports throughout the day:

8:14 - Google's “Don't Be Evil” Motto is Reduced to a Figleaf (谷歌“不作恶”口号沦为遮羞布)
Chinese people say: “When you leave your home, ask directions, when you enter a village ask about the customs.” As an enterprise operating in China, is it possible that Google doesn't know it should respect the country's laws and the feelings of its people? China's executive and law enforcement agencies have made repeated statements of principle about mitigating the influence of obscene pornography on the youth, and have repeatedly organized large scale anti-porn actions. In this environment, Google behaves like it is in a vacuum, and repeatedly “oversteps its bounds.” We have to ask: has the leadership of Google China looked at China's laws? Has it shown respect to the authority of relevant agencies? Does it take the cries of parents seriously?
9:04 - Ordered to Rectify Over “Spreading Pornography,” Google China “Hits a Snag” (“涉黄”被勒令整改 谷歌中国“触礁”)
Forced to stop because of “involvement with porn,” Google's reputation in China may well have suffered a serious attack. Previously, Google's image was one of an Internet company that would “not be evil,” and it emphasized it would base its pursuit of competitors on the user experience. But with this exposure for “involvement with porn,” its name is sullied, and its prospects in the China market need to be reconsidered.
10:30 - Google Refuses to Correct Itself, Punishment Will Make Them Understand the Error of Their Ways (谷歌自甘堕落,处罚惩前毖后)
It is clear that Google's behavior has gone beyond the boundaries of what the public and the law can tolerate, and it has used pornography and indecent information to make a profit. Not only will China not stand for this, most places in the world won't stand for it. Because even an irresponsible parent doesn't want their child to grow up in obscene pornographic and indecent environment.
10:33 - Google China Remains in a Pornography Vortex: Links to the English Site for More “Pornographic Guides” (谷歌中国仍在色情漩涡中 所链英文站"导黄"更甚)
There is a “Google in English” link on Google China's home page, and owing to the sparseness of Google's home page, this text link is very easy to see. This reporter tried clicking on the link, which quickly opened a web page. This reported tried entering a few sensitive English words, and “Google English” retrieved text links and images that showed a level of obscenity that far surpassed that of the Chinese web page.
12:49 - Some Western Media “Believe” China has Ulterior Motives in Google's “Porn Gate” (谷歌中国陷"涉黄门" 部分西方媒体"臆想"中国意图)
China Modern International Relations Institute researcher Su Jingxiang said that, if oversight of the Internet is not stepped up, then society faces problems, and that western countries had long ago formed a series of oversight measures and legal provision for the Internet. The Internet is already becoming a new battlefield of future competition between nations, and China has absolutely no reason to relax its control over this battlefield. Fudan University professor Shen Dingli said: Google's attitude towards this affairs has been “this only happens in order to make money.” He believes that the key is to enact laws requiring guardians to take responsibility, and ensure that the youth do not come into contact with pornographic things.
15:15 - Google China's “Spreading Pornography” Hurts Others and Hurts Themselves (谷歌中国“涉黄”害人又害己)
With respect to relevant agencies sanctioning Google China's behavior, one Internet user said: “I support it. The government should have done this sooner.” Many parents said: “I am a father to a child, I absolutely support this.” “Keep attacking pornographic websites, earnestly oppose indecent websites that corrupt our youth.” The existence of a large quantity of content on Google China's website that spreads obscene pornography and indecent information is not something the people support. It is destructive and self-destructive, and after Google's exposure for involvement with porn and suffering its biggest attack since it entered China four years ago, its business will be severely affected. Its just like the old saying: “If you use grain to lure a chicken, you'll likely lose both the grain and the chicken.”
On June 24, Danwei.org published an a translation of a blog post entitled "When 'Gao Ye' Becomes a Filtered Word." An excerpt:
I had always thought that "Green Daddy" would become the big joke story of the year, but I never imagined that even more laughs would be generated when wise and wonderful CCTV went after Google China in the name of "obscenity." And under this new view, Google China has made swift changes, boosting its word filters, so that our little friend Gao Ye, the student who told Focus Interview that one of his classmates had become high-strung after viewing pornographic pictures on Google, has vanished from Google search results. What's more, Google results for phrases containing 高也 ("Gao Ye") returns "Your search results may involve content that violates laws, regulations, and policies, and cannot be displayed." And the results of a sentence like "It's no good even if you're tall" (你长得高也没用) are illegal too. Hahahahaha. At the same time, Baidu, another China-based, foreign-funded company, doesn't seem to be so spooked. Searching for the keyword 高也 returns some irrelevant results along with the sentence, "According to relevant laws, regulations, and policies, some of your search results have not been displayed." And searching for Focus Interview and Gao Ye together returns things related to Focus Interview's faked interview of one of its own.
These screenshots, taken on June 24, show that a search for "Gao Ye" on Google.cn returned no results, just a censorship notice, while Baidu was returning search results limited to about a dozen web sites controlled by the central government and the Communist Party.

2011 Attack on Baidu

On August 15, 2011, China's state-run television broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) launched the first in a series of exposés about Baidu. According to an August 17 article entitled "Baidu Fakes its Search Results, CCTV Reveals" published by the Global Times:
Anyone can place their website entries in higher positions on Baidu's search results as long as they pay enough, Central China Television (CCTV) reported on Monday.
To attract more clients, Baidu employees give tips to clients on how to muddle through the company's qualification verification with fake business licenses, said the report.
A victim from Hangzhou who used Baidu search engine to look for air ticket booking website qunar.com was led to a fake "qunar" website at the top of the Baidu search results, the official TV channel reported.
Shortly after the exposés, Baidu (and only Baidu) began censoring results for "CCTV Baidu" (both "CCTV 百度" and "央视 百度"). These screenshots show that searches for these terms on Baidu web search and news search returned a notice that "Search results may not comply with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, and have not been displayed" (搜索结果可能不符合相关法律法规和政策,未予显示。).

On August 18, China's state-run media published an article entitled "Baidu Apologizes for Fake Information Affair, Fires Resellers Who Violated Rules." (百度就虚假信息事件道歉 开除违规代理商)

2013 Attack on Apple

On March 17, the state-sponsored Global Times published an article entitled "Indecent Exposé." Some excerpts:
Among the many companies exposed was Apple, whose cellphone products occupy roughly 11 percent of the Chinese smartphone market. The company was revealed to have refused to replace the back cover of its cellphones in its after-sales service in order to shorten the warranty period - which would be extended if the phone was replaced.
Whilst the exposés demonstrated solid investigative work, none seemed to ignite the public's passion or approach issues close to their hearts.
. . . .
As if ignoring the foremost concerns from the public was not enough; the gala itself was "exposed" to have allegedly induced influential figures to post pre-written comments to manipulate public opinion.
A posting appeared on the Sina Weibo of Peter Ho, a famous movie star, expressing disappointment over Apple's service. However, the posting accidentally included an additional sentence - instructions detailing when to post the comment.
"As an Apple fan, I am hurt. Is this what Steve Jobs wanted the company to be? What about those who sell their kidneys to buy Apple's products? Truly, big companies treat customers with no respect. Post at around 8:20 pm," the comment read.
Ho claimed that his Weibo account had been hacked but the message had already gone viral. The gala was ridiculed as being hypocritical as it "cooked up fake comments under the name of fighting fake products."
Many Web users mocked the expose by attaching the "Post around 8:20 pm" instruction to their posts.
. . . .
Kai-Fu Lee, former vice-president of Google and a popular figure on the Internet, confirmed on his Sina Weibo that "CCTV has invited influential Internet figures to comment in accordance with a certain event but did not offer to pay for them."
Liu Jishou (留几手), a Weibo user with over 3 million followers, posted the following on his Weibo at 8:23 pm on March 15 at this URL: http://weibo.com/1761179351/znAiLpVut
#315 Is On the Move# Apple, You make money in China. But in America your computers' warranty period is two years, and in China its only one year. In America your phones' warranty period is renewed after the maintenance period ends, but its not in China. As an American company that advocates fairness and justice, why do you play a game of double standards in China? You're in for a hard time.
#315在行动# 苹果,你在中国赚足了钱。可你的电脑在美国保修期是两年,在中国却是一年;你的手机在美国维修后保修期重新计算,在中国却不是。提倡公平公正的美国企业,为什么要在中国玩这套双重标准呢?你摊上大事了。
A few hours afterwards Liu posted this at this URL: http://weibo.com/1761179351/znBwaCHgA
It is said that it takes three minutes for a mature person to complete a mental struggle -- Jobs. -- This Weibo is from the Apple Anti-Black PR Customer Service Center.
These screenshots show that both of these posts were deleted within a few days.

On March 21, China's official news agency Xinhua published an article entitled "Apple Pursuit Lures 20,000 Students Into 'Usury.'" An excerpt:
Over 20,000 college students have taken high-interest loans to buy fancy electronic products, mostly Apple devices, in central China's Wuhan City.
From the start of Jan. 2012 to the end of Feb. 2013, the students have applied for loans with a total value of 160 million yuan (about 25.76 million U.S. dollars) from Home Credit China (HC China), a subsidiary of international investment business PPF Group.
"We have lost touch with about 100 of them, getting no response to calls or letters reminding them about delayed payments," said Liu Mingwei, Wuhan regional manager with HC China, on Wednesday.
With around 1 million students in Wuhan, it means about one in 50 of them are shouldering HC China's heavy annual interest rates of up to 47.12 percent on a 12-month-term loan.
About 90 percent of the credit was used to buy Apple products, such as iPhones and iPads, and other high-end electronic products, said Li.
On March 24, the Global Times published an article entitled "Apple Shrugs Off China Policy Bash." An excerpt:
Apple Inc said Saturday that while its after-sale services in China are somewhat different from those in other countries, they comply with Chinese laws, the company's response to domestic media reports saying that Apple is treating Chinese consumers unfairly.
The company posted a statement on its website pledging to replace all parts but the cover if an iPhone 4 or 4S has quality issues within the warranty period, and to replace all defective iPhone 5s entirely because of the model's special design.
However, Apple's warranty policies are different in other countries such as the US, specifying complete replacement for all faulty products within the one-year warranty period, said a report by China Central Television (CCTV) on March 15, World Consumer Rights Day.
On March 24, the official Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily published the following articles in its print edition:

"Double Standards for After Sale Service, Doubts Raised After Apple Praises Its Own Response, Apple Takes a Bite Out of 'God'" (售后服务双重标准 自我表扬应付质疑 苹果咬了“上帝”一口) (Page 1). Some excerpts:
"I think Apple lacks a basic respect for Chinese consumers." Consumer Little Pan was very angry. In America, England, Australia and other countries, Apple's phones can be replace with new phones if they stop working for covered reasons during the warranty period but in China, consumers are treated differently.
. . . .
Even so, with respect to its double standard for service after sales, Apple only published a 200 word announcement its official website, full of self-satisfied empty talk and self-congratulatory praise, and didn't provide any way to resolve this.
. . . .
Not only that, Apple avoided interviews. Many times journalists contacted Apple's headquarters in China and sent emails to its corporate communications department asking for interviews, but as of publication, we had not received any response whatsoever.
. . . .
On March 23, Apple published an announcement on its offical web site denying any "Sino-foreign discrimination" in warranties.
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
"Apple's 'Double Standards' for After Sales Service Makes Consumers Resentful, Negative Response Raises Doubts, Is Arrogant Apple 'Unbiteable'?" (苹果公司售后服务“双重标准”引发消费者不满,消极应付惹质疑 傲慢苹果“啃”不动?) (Page 9). Some excerpts:

Self-congratulatory, dodging interviews, dodging questions . . . . Recently, after Apple was exposed was having a "double standard" after-sales service attitude toward the Chinese market, it caused widespread suspicion and disappointment. On March 23, Apple's official web site published two more announcements, denying any "Sino-foreign discrimination" existed in its warranty, but there was still no clear explanation forthcoming.
What is the reason for Apple repeatedly dodging the disatisfaction of its customer "gods," and become a unyielding  bone on the road of consumer rights protection? What can be done to make sure consumer rights are not wounded even further?
After its after-sales service "double standard" was exposed on CCTV's "March 15" Evening Program, Apple only published a scant 200 word notice on its official web site: "Apple is devoted to making the best products in the world, and to giving consumers an unbeatable user experience in every market. We work closely with over 500 authorized service points in over 270 cities around the country. Our teams are constantly striving to exceed consumers' expectations, and we take every consumer's opinions and suggestions very seriously." 
. . . .
On March 26, the People's Daily published an article entitled "China's Consumer Association Critiques Issues with Apple's After-Sales Service, The Damage Hegemonist Apple Has Wrought." (中消协点评苹果售后服务问题 霸气苹果伤了啥). Some excerpts:
Recently, the China Consumer Association has said that in the last two years it has received a stream of complaints from consumers, reflecting that when the Apple products they use experience problems and are returned for repairs, they discover that Apple's after-sales repair policies include unfair, unreasonable form contract provisions. For some time now Apple phones have implemented after sales policies in the China market that differ from those in other countries, and this has not only hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, it has also damaged its brand. Internet user "Walking the Mountains" said: "Until Apple admits the error of its ways and treats Chinese consumers fairly, don't buy Apple!" 
With respect to this, the China Consumer Association's Complaints Department director Qiu Jianguo said in an interview: "Apple's treatment of consumers in China is different from those in America and Korea. We think this is worth considering: Are our laws not sufficiently strict? Is law enforcement by relevant agencies not up to standard? Are our consumers not sufficiently rational?"
On March 27, CCTV aired a segment entitled "Apple Dodges Problems and Dwells on Irrelevancies, The Public Stays Focused on the Issues" (苹果避重就轻 社会关注事态进展). According to the text accompanying the online version of the segment:
Since our March 15 Evening Program exposed Apple's after-sales service used a sino-foreign double standard, Apple has put out two consecutive announcements saying: "Chinese consumers enjoy Apple's highest standards of service," and "The warranty policies Apple provides in China are approximately the same as those in America and other parts of the world," but this has not met with the approval of the general consumers and the legal community.
Various mainstream media outlets, including the People's Daily, Guangming Daily, and Xinhua, have reported on the information exposed during the March 15 Evening Program, and nationwide over 30 print media editorial departments have published over 50 editorials. . . . Web sites such as Xinhua, Sina, and Sohu have also reported on problems with after-sales service for Apple products, and there have been over 3,800,000 weibos, reposts, and comments on Sina Weibo, and almost 120,000 comments on the Sohu News Channel report.  
包括《人民日报》、《光明日报》、新华每日电讯等百家主流平面媒体都对3?15晚会上曝光的内容进行转载和报道,全国30多家平面媒体的总编辑撰写了50多篇评论。. . . . ”新华网、新浪网、搜狐网等网站也对苹果产品售后服务的问题进行了转载。新浪微博参与转发、评论的用户超过380万,搜狐新闻端相关报道的评论也接近12万条。
On March 27, the China Daily published an article entitled "Chinese Consumers Deserve Better from Apple." Some excerpts:
Reports in recent days seem to reveal a dark side of the long exemplary Apple company: it has not only ignored its Chinese customers, extended different treatment in after-sales service, but is also suspected of tax evasion. Any brand, no matter how famous, would fall from its zenith if it constantly challenges consumers' patience and continues unethical commercial activities, says an article in People's Daily. 
On March 27, the People's Daily published an article entitled "Strike Down Apple's 'Incomparable' Arrogance" (打掉苹果“无与伦比”的傲慢). Some excerpts:
Fundamentally speaking, the principles of trust and sincerity are the must basic forms of business ethics, as well as being the foundations of a market economy, and the bottom line for an enterprise's existence and development. No matter how big an enterprise is, it cannot escape these basic principles.
. . . .
In recent days, the trend has been for the aspirational Apple to evolve into a mess: ignoring Chinese consumers, providing different grades of after-sales service, suspected of evading taxes, and obstinately refusing to admit its errors when it caught . . . . and yet it has the nerve to proudly proclaim "we provide an incomparable user experience for consumers."
. . . .
And it is not only "Apple," China's consumers frequently experience feelings of debilitation when faced with Western enterprises who act like prima donnas. Its as though when they enter China they become the natural rule setters, and enjoy special rights as "big shops who cheat customers." And we, the workers and teh consumers can only bear this disrespect in silence, helpless to fight fight back.  
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On March 28, the People's Daily published four articles criticizing Apple on Page 9:
  • "Five of Apple's Products Sued for Patent Infringement, Apple Files for Summary Judgment, Gets Denied" (苹果5款产品被诉专利侵权 苹果申请中止审理,未获准许) 
  • "'New York Times' Exposes Apple's Large Scale 'Tax Evasion,' Casts Doubt on its 'Ethical' Standards,' How Much Taxes Is Apple Really Dodging?" (《纽约时报》揭露苹果大面积“避税”,质疑其“道德”标准 苹果到底躲了多少税) 
  • "General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Responds to Complaints About Apple's After-Sales Service" (国家质检总局就苹果售后服务投诉作出回应 苹果售后规定 涉嫌违反我国法规) 
  • "A Record of This Newspaper's Reporters' Communications With Apple's Silicon Valley Office" (本报驻美国记者赶赴硅谷——与苹果总部沟通记)
On March 29, the People's Daily published an article entitled "State Administration of Industry and Commerce to Increase its Oversight of Apple's Form Contracts" (国家工商总局——加强对苹果合同格式条款监管).

On March 29, the Global Times published an article entitled "For Apple, Business Must Stay Business." Some excerpts:
Apple Inc has been having a hard time in China since China Central Television (CCTV) revealed on March 15 that the technology giant allegedly applies a different service policy to Chinese consumers than in other countries and regions. A wave of onslaught has surged in Chinese State media in the past few days, with Chinese authorities ordering the company to change its policies or face punishment according to Chinese regulations.
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Had Apple been more sincere in its response to the criticism, the result could have been different. The statement Apple made right after the CCTV exposé was very different with that of other multinational companies who were also reported to have consumer rights issues. With the sheer weight of the company behind it, Apple's detached tone could easily be seen as proof of arrogance.
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Apple should not follow the media speculation and consider itself the target of political persecution. As for its fans in China, if they do love this brand, they should let the truth emerge instead of joining the speculations.
If the issue developed into a head-on confrontation between Apple and the Chinese authorities, the US company will never be a winner, nor will China necessarily do well. Of course, Apple will suffer the most, as its products are already facing increasing competition in China.
It will be wise for Apple not to entangle itself into political debates. 
On March 29, the China Daily published an article entitled "Apple Blasted by Chinese Regulators Over Service." Some excerpts:
Apple Inc is facing closer scrutiny from two government agencies in China for allegedly failing to follow the nation's rules on product warranties, after media reports questioned the US company's customer service.
On Thursday, the State Administration of Industry and Commerce said it had instructed subordinate agencies across China to step up supervision of electronics companies. It specified Apple by name. It and other firms are accused of applying their own terms to customer-service contracts, in violation of Chinese laws and regulations.
The administration is the second Chinese agency in two days to level criticism at the iPhone and iPad maker.
On Wednesday, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, which is tasked with formulating standards in China, told Apple to change its service practices and follow Chinese laws and regulations. It was responding to complaints from consumers who said Apple provides only one-year warranties on the mainboards of its MacBook Air computers sold in China.
On March 30, the People's Daily published an article entitled "China Consumer Association Issues Public Call to Apple, Rectify Problems With Respect for the Legal Rights of Consumers" (中国消费者协会公开劝谕苹果公司 尊重消费者合法权益改正存在问题).

On March 31, the China Daily published an article entitled "Chinese Consumers Demand Apple's Apology." Some excerpts:
The China Consumer's Association (CCA) has asked Apple Inc. to "sincerely apologize to Chinese consumers" and "thoroughly correct its problems," after the US firm took little action to address waves of criticism.
In a statement posted on the CCA's website, Apple Inc. was told to equalize the warranty periods in China compared with other countries.
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Analysts said Apple arrogance is sustained by its strong market presence in China. Its innovative products and aggressive marketing strategy have made it fearless of consumers' frowns.
Su Haopeng, a law professor with the University of International Business and Economics, said it is the company's social responsibility to respect consumer rights, while it should not abuse its market predominance to hurt their interests.
"Apple Inc.'s unfair and unreasonable rules have infringed consumer's legitimate rights," he said.
On April 1, Apple published a notice at http://www.apple.com.cn/support/warranties headed "Dear  Respected Chinese Consumers" and signed by Tim Cook. An excerpt:
During the last two weeks, we have received a lot of feedback regarding Apple’s repair and warranty policies in China. We have not only thought deeply about these opinions, we have also carefully studied the "three guarantees" provisions with  relevant government agencies, and have reviewed how we communicate our maintenance policies and combed through our management of Apple's authorized service providers. We have become aware that a lack of communication during this process has led to a  perception amongst those outside it that Apple's attitude is arrogant and that it does not care about or attach importance to consumers' feedback. As regards any concerns or misunderstandings that this gave consumers, we express our sincere [apologies/regret].
在过去的两周里,我们收到了许多关于 Apple 在中国维修和保修政策的反馈。我们不仅对这些意见进行了深刻的反思,与相关部门一起仔细研究了 “三包” 规定,还审视了我们维修政策的沟通方式,并梳理了我们对 Apple 授权服务提供商的管理规范。我们意识到,由于在此过程中对外沟通不足而导致外界认为 Apple 态度傲慢,不在意或不重视消费者的反馈。对于由此给消费者带来的任何顾虑或误会,我们表示诚挚的歉意。

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

On June 14, 2024, the Twitter account "Free Huang Xueqin & Wang Jianbing 释放雪饼" (@FreeXueBing)  posted a copy of the last two p...