Apple's capitulation over Hong Kong protest app isn't new; and the NBA is racing it to the bottom

When Apple caved to pressure from the Chinese government and yanked an Ios app that let users avoid being attacked by the city-state's murderous, rampaging police forces, it was merely continuing a long tradition of capitulation to Chinese authorities, who control access to some of Apple's most important customers as well as the factories that make the bulk of Apple's products.

In years gone by, Apple has repeatedly caved to Chinese state demands, in both petty ways (blocking the Taiwanese flag from its emoji set, blocking politically charged terms, including "human rights," from custom engraving on its devices) to the seismic (only allowing backdoored VPNs in the App Store) — to say nothing of routine capitulation to censorship demands for books and music in its online stores.

But Apple isn't the only "American" company that has come to rely on Chinese consumers and thus the Chinese state's goodwill for its profits: the NBA has become so dependent on Chinese revenues that it has censured Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey for his public support of the Hong Kong protesters, and yesterday, two Philadelphia 76ers fans were thrown out a preseason game in the Wells Fargo Center for holding a sign supporting the Hong Kong protesters.

When companies decide to do business in China, they set themselves up for this utterly predictable outcome: because China is a dictatorship with heavily censored media and networks and heavily policed import controls, the Chinese state can arbitrarily end your business's presence in the country. That means that if the Chinese state ever decides that your company needs to censor its stakeholders, customers, or developers for their support of basic human rights, you will either have to capitulate or lose the market.

Sam Wachs and his wife were holding signs in support of Hong Kong during the 76ers game at the Wells Fargo Center, but those signs were confiscated.

"There's no foul language, no politics. I asked 'Why not?' They said, 'Don't give me a hard time,'" Wachs said in an interview with Action News.

Wachs admitted he then stood up and started yelling "Free Hong Kong" before being escorted out.

"I think it's (a) shameful, harsh reaction," Wachs added.

'Free Hong Kong' chants get fans kicked out of NBA game [Christie Ileto/ABC 13]