October 18, 2019

Bipartisan Members Condemn Activision Blizzard and Apple Actions to Enforce Chinese Government Censorship

Senate and House Coalition Warns U.S. Companies to Resist Pressure to Suppress Criticism of Authoritarian Governments

Washington, D.C. – A bipartisan coalition of Senate and House members today condemned Activision Blizzard and Apple’s recent actions to suppress criticism of the Chinese government in hopes of gaining higher profits.

Apple recently removed the HKMap mapping app, which was widely used by peaceful Hong Kong protestors, from the App Store, at the request of the Chinese government, and has censored at least 2,200 apps in China according to the nonprofit group GreatFire.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Sen. Maro Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., and Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., condemned the moves, in a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“You have said publicly that you want to work with China’s leaders to effect change rather than sit on the sidelines and yell at them. We, too, believe that diplomacy and trade can be democratizing forces. But when a repressive government refuses to evolve or, indeed, when it doubles down, cooperation can become complicity,” the members wrote.

Bipartisan members also called on Activision Blizzard to reverse its decisions to ban players who have voiced support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, particularly its ban on Mr. Ng Wai Chung.

Wyden, Rubio, Ocasio-Cortez, Gallagher and Malinowski wrote to Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick today.

“As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values—like freedom of speech and thought—or to give in to Beijing’s demands in order to preserve market access. We urge you in the strongest terms to reconsider your decision with respect to Mr. Chung,” the members wrote.

Both letters follow on a bipartisan letter organized by Rep. Malinowski, which called on the NBA to resist Chinese efforts to censor American support for the Hong Kong Protests.