Over the weekend, Tim Cook made a surprise appearance at the World Internet Conference in China. During a keynote address at the event, Tim Cook reportedly said that Apple and China share a vision for an open digital economy. Now, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, who previously questioned Apple’s relationship with the Chinese government, has responded to the news of Cook’s remarks…

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Tim Cook’s appearance at the event was notable seeing that Apple had previously clashed with China over various issues, one of which saw the company remove many VPN applications from the Chinese App Store. That move raised suspicion from Leahy and Ted Cruz about Apple’s prerogatives in China.

Speaking at the event this weekend, Cook remarked that Apple and China “share” a vision for a “digital economy for openness” and “a common future in cyberspace,” as reported by CNBC.

In an interview with the news outlet, Leahy addressed Cook’s appearance at the Wold Internet Conference and explained that he hopes Apple is fighting for freedom of expression not just in the United States, but also in countries like China:

“American tech companies have become leading champions of free expression. But that commitment should not end at our borders…Global leaders in innovation, like Apple, have both an opportunity and a moral obligation to promote free expression and other basic human rights in countries that routinely deny these rights.”

Leahy went on to say that ultimately, Apple is a “force for good” in China, but that he encourages the company, and other tech titans, to continue pushing back on any form of suppression:

“Apple is clearly a force for good in China, but I also believe it and other tech companies must continue to push back on Chinese suppression of free expression,” Leahy said.

In response to Apple’s decision to remove VPN apps from the App Store in China, Leahy and Ted Cruz both slammed the company for conceding to China’s demands. Cruz has yet to comment on the news of Cook’s speech in China.


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