On 11th February 2020, a Students for Free Tibet UK group protested outside the Apple flagship store in Regent Street, central London to raise awareness of Apple implied support for oppression in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong by the Chinese dictatorship.
Our banners read ‘Apple: Stand with freedom’, ‘Apple: Stop supporting China’s crackdown on Freedom’ and ‘Stand with Hong Kongers, Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Taiwanese’.
We also planned to speak to the management of the store to urge them to raise these concerns during their upcoming Annual General Meeting.
Without much surprise, our attempts to talk with the store managers did not go anywhere. The one manager who was prepared to speak with us kept repeating “I can’t make any political comment”.
One of our group, Anna, said: “Apple clearly has its employees on a very short leash. I asked a simple question, ‘Do you believe in Human Rights?’ and …. all they were able to say again and again was, ‘I can’t comment’. Like wtf? I admit they were pretty honest – they said they have to think about their job. Well, Tibetans are worried about their lives in occupied Tibet!”
Anna continued, “our fight isn’t against individual consumers or employees. I respect them. However, if Apple can silence an employee in London – I genuinely shudder to think about their human rights record within China, where respect for the individual has very few rights.”
We were happy that our awareness-raising protest at the Apple was noticed by many passers-by, shoppers and management at the store. Thank you to all who took part!