No surprise! More keywords are banned for engravings in mainland China
Citizen Lab analyzed Apple’s censorship in six markets, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.S., Japan, and Canada. It should not be a surprise that Mainland China has the largest number of banned keywords and numbers while the United States had the least. What is a surprise is that Apple oversteps its legal obligations in Hong Kong, and according to Citizen Lab, “we are aware of no legal justification for the political censorship of content in Taiwan.”
In mainland China, the number 8964 cannot be engraved on an Apple product
Apple’s actions in Hong Kong and Taiwan should come as no surprise either. Apple has shown a willingness to bend over backward to keep its status in China intact. The country is responsible for 20% of the company’s total revenues.
In the past, Apple has been accused of being sexist when it comes to its censorship. In 2014, it was pointed out that Apple allowed the word “penis” to be engraved on its products but banned the word “vagina.” In mainland China, certain number combinations are also banned by Apple. For example, you cannot engrave the number 8964 on any Apple product in the country because it is a reference to the Tiananmen Square protests of June 4, 1989.
In Taiwan, an engraving referencing Xi Jinping is censored
In a letter to The Verge, Apple’s chief privacy officer Jane Horvath said, “We handle engraving requests regionally. There is no single global list that contains one set of words or phrases. Instead, these decisions are made through a review process where our teams assess local laws as well as their assessment of cultural sensitivities.”