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Chinese Government Suspected of Unleashing Astroturfers Against Apple

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the bad-for-business dept.

China 194

An anonymous reader writes "A piece attacking Apple's treatment of Chinese consumers that aired on official government TV last week was followed by a wave of anti-Apple posts on Weibo (China's equivalent of Twitter) by Chinese celebrities. On the China-watching site Tea Leaf Nation, Liz Carter reports that sharp-eyed Weibo users noticed something funny about one such post from an actor and singer named Peter Ho: 'Cannot believe Apple is playing so many dirty tricks in customer service. As an Apple fan, I feel hurt...Need to post around 8:20 pm.' What was this 'need to post at 8:20 pm' business? After Weibo lit up with sarcastic tags such as #PostAround820, Ho claimed (rather unconvincingly) that someone must have hacked his account and posted the anti-Apple 'Weibo'. Mike Elgan at CultOfMac notes a parallel with the Chinese government's rough handling of Google in 2009, which led to Google's closing of its mainland operations. Google claimed that government commissioned hackers had apparently stolen search engine source code, Gmail messages and other user data. An earlier article by Elgan on Datamation notes the uneasy business relationship between Apple and China."

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194 comments

Itchy hand (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43196781)

When my hand gets itchy, I simply shave off my uterus using the latest electronic razor technology.

It works for being.

Astroturfers against Apple? (-1, Flamebait)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year ago | (#43196941)

So, just like slashdot, then?

Re:Astroturfers against Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43196971)

Yeah exactly. Slashdot is just another tool of China and Google out to destroy apple. Pathetic.

Re:Astroturfers against Apple? (3, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | about a year ago | (#43197069)

It's humor, son. It doesn't rise to the standard of "pathetic."

Well, unless you miss the point...

Re:Astroturfers against Apple? (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#43196977)

My Macbook drowns kittens and beats up elderly ladies. Why would Apple be that evil? [need to post about 10:25AM]

Re:Astroturfers against Apple? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197343)

My niece was molested by an iPhone. True story.

Re:Astroturfers against Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197583)

It doesn't count if someone is constantly texting her and she send pictures afterwards.

Re:Astroturfers against Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197659)

No way. Apple hates children so much that Steve Jobs let his daughter live on welfare while he was a billionaire.

Re:Astroturfers against Apple? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197845)

It wasn't an iPhone, it was a dildo. And she wasn't molested, she was masturbating. Seriously, not everything that vibrates is an iPhone in silent mode.

Re:Astroturfers against Apple? (4, Funny)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about a year ago | (#43197897)

The iPod Touch

Re:Astroturfers against Apple? (2)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#43197469)

That's way better than mine.

My MacBook drowns elderly ladies and beats up kittens. Probably because it's "Pro".

Re:Astroturfers against Apple? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197113)

Well, we haven't yet seen the "From the Post-after-Samsung-Galaxy-S4-launch dept" tagline as a slipup yet, so not sure if it's astroturf or just a grudge.

Why government? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43196799)

A lot of Chinese companies are real s**ts, and a lot of Chinese companies make their own Android handsets.

IMHO, follow the money. It will be paid for troll turf from one of the China handset makers.

Also why do you think the Chinese government is some sort of magic all seeing, all acting entity? Realistically they want to project that image, but part of the reason China is such a wild west is because the Chinese government is so corrupt and no-seeing.

That's why companies like this don't fear smear tactics. Because they can always pay a bribe and walk away.

Re:Why government? (5, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43196963)

Also why do you think the Chinese government is some sort of magic all seeing, all acting entity?

There is a perception that the Chinese government is a monolithic entity, with unity of purpose. This is not at all the case. Because the communist party has a monopoly on political power, everyone with ambition has to be in it. So the CCP includes people of every ideological hue, from hardcore Marxists to free market libertarians. These people often work in the same departments. Many Chinese government agencies are run by committee, rather than having a single person in charge, which results in muddled policies as factions maneuver to obstruct each other.

I spent several years working in Shanghai, and found that the same is true in most Chinese businesses. The amount of office politics, infighting and backstabbing is probably an order of magnitude worse than anything I have experienced in the US.

Re:Why government? (2, Interesting)

mc6809e (214243) | about a year ago | (#43197053)

There is a perception that the Chinese government is a monolithic entity, with unity of purpose. This is not at all the case. Because the communist party has a monopoly on political power, everyone with ambition has to be in it. So the CCP includes people of every ideological hue, from hardcore Marxists to free market libertarians.

Yeah, but the one thing they all have in common is nationalism, racism, and xenophobia.

Don't think for a second that if you're just nice to them they'll treat you fairly. They only see it as a weakness to exploit.

The only exception might be the people of Hong Kong, a great city, but even there most have benevolent feelings of superiority.

Re:Why government? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43196979)

A lot of Chinese companies are real s**ts, and a lot of Chinese companies make their own Android handsets.

Apple knockoffs coming out soon, that's why: The SlantediPhone.

Re:Why government? (4, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#43196993)

What, you think their Western counterparts are better?

Reality is, these Chinese companies are learning FROM Western companies. And they're just starting, I'm fully expecting them to go full Bhopal on us eventually.

And you know what? For what we did to them for last couple of centuries, it would hard as hell to argue that they're somehow worse then us and not appear both stupid and hypocritical at the same time.

Re:Why government? (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about a year ago | (#43197037)

What we did to them? While I fully believe the US is culpable for the woes of many places in the world I think the greatest enemy of the Chinese is the Chinese. The US didn't support Mao and the US was not complicit in the building of a police state in China.

Re:Why government? (4, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#43197185)

I wasn't talking about US. It's quite interesting that you inferred that particular country from the thread talking about companies.

Western companies have long since evolved to be "multinational" to avoid being too vulnerable to influence of any single country.

Re:Why government? (3, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43197489)

Western companies have long since evolved to be "multinational" to expand their markets.

FTFY.

Re:Why government? (2, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#43197649)

A company does not need to be multinational to be in the global market. Being multinational gives you some advantages in this but it is not necessary by any means.

On the other hand, the real motive to go multinational is being able to evade taxes, use cheaper labor, and evade inconvenient laws.

Re:Why government? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197709)

Well, US as part of the UK, did start a war with China over the Chinese policy to forbid Opium. Yes, that was a full scale invasion to force the Chinese to legalise hard drugs. Mostly because drugs was how the UK maintained a positive trade balance with China.

Re:Why government? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197981)

I would hope your knowledge of Chinese History doesn't go only as far back as Mao being in power. The west has in its past done some pretty atrocious things in China.

Re:Why government? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197257)

China has more reason to bear a grudge against European countries, who were there raping China long before the US (regrettably) joined in. The US at the very least used part of its Boxer Rebellion indemnity to establish Tsinghua University, and later aided the country against Japanese expansion through lend lease and volunteer fighters, and yet again after the Sino-Soviet split, oh and once more with Most Favored Trading Nation.

What has Europe done to pay for its transgressions against China?

Re:Why government? (1)

longk (2637033) | about a year ago | (#43197327)

If you go that far back in history, most Americans just came from Europe. From that point of view there's really no difference.

Re:Why government? (0)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#43197377)

About as much as it has done to pay for its transgressions world wide. And mind you, US is very much on that list, because transgressions are basically about "people of European origin during colonialist period" rather then any given state. US in fact was arguably the last to stop, or at least "hide" its active colonialism, as European powers collapsed after WW2, having to cede control over most of their colonies as well as ability to project power necessary for active colonialism.

Nowadays colonialism isn't a state affair as much as corporate affair, and corporations are mostly "multinationals" as to empower them to not be bound by control of any single nation. Notably this particular form of colonialism has in fact evolved from US, as Old World colonialism traditionally had a far more centralized and controlled form.

Regardless, we're talking about companies, which are the modern face of colonialism rather then the old state-based colonialism. Hence the Bhopal reference.

Re:Why government? (4, Insightful)

SvnLyrBrto (62138) | about a year ago | (#43197853)

> What has Europe done to pay for its transgressions against China?

The generations that transgressed died off. The current generation has done nothing to them and should not be held to blame for the actions of old dead people to whom they happen to be related.

I know it's a cultural thing in some places to hold generations-long grudges against people for the "sins of their fathers". But I've never understood it. And I'll never accept it. And if that's one area where I'm just culturally-insensitive, that's one insensitivity I can live with.

Re:Why government? (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#43197095)

IMHO, follow the money.

I'd say it's even simpler than that. A classic method of deflecting criticism is to set up an external boogeyman. People are starting to demand employment rights from the government. The government could change, or they could set up some big, bad, foreign companies to take the rap.

The only surprise is that they didn't choose a Japanese corporation. Oh, wait, they did... [nytimes.com]

Re:Why government? (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43197277)

A lot of Chinese companies are real s**ts, and a lot of Chinese companies make their own Android handsets.

IMHO, follow the money. It will be paid for troll turf from one of the China handset makers.

Also why do you think the Chinese government is some sort of magic all seeing, all acting entity? Realistically they want to project that image, but part of the reason China is such a wild west is because the Chinese government is so corrupt and no-seeing.

That's why companies like this don't fear smear tactics. Because they can always pay a bribe and walk away.

If you ask me its it's no different than the fawning western press suddenly showing up with Apple articles when any other phone manufacturers release new phones. With nothing new on the table or in the product pipeline, you can count on at least a half dozen stories showing up in newspapers, websites, and blogs when ever Apple feels a little bit left out or needs some good news to counter some new product push from some random Android manufacturer.

Convince me these don't start with a phonecall from apple headquarters, or an email marked confidential, listing story "ideas" and a "must be published by" date.

If anything this is probably the Chinese government or some manufacturer taking a card out of Apple's playbook and doing it poorly.

What goes around, comes around.

Re:Why government? (2)

longk (2637033) | about a year ago | (#43197341)

There's one important difference though: western media participates in these games because it makes them money, gets them contracts, etc. These Chinese celebrities are more likely to be strong-armed into cooperating than rewarded with a handsome sum of money.

Re:Why government? (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year ago | (#43197663)

And how exactly do you know that?

Re:Why government? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197791)

Because praising/bashing Apple every time something Apple related happens gets news sites hits. Hits = profit.

Why do you think Slashdot has a section dedicated to Apple?

Re:Why government? (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a year ago | (#43197801)

There is no limit to the paranoia of Fandroids.

Re:Why government? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197413)

Excuse the lack of Sinophobic content but in what way does "Need to post around 8:20 pm" translate to "Chinese government"?
It mentioned Peter Ho is a spokesperson for Samsung Galaxy. I would actually think Samsung if I were into astrology, Ouiji boards, and late night radio.

Re:Why government? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43197667)

Why government?

Because people have been indoctrinated, for the last 33 years that "government is the problem".

And obviously 8:20 was a typo

Transnationals do the same thing (4, Insightful)

jnmontario (865369) | about a year ago | (#43196805)

Frankly, nothing China does surprises me anymore. Rather, I think the surprising thing is that people don't want to accept massive manipulation of product presence online by transnationals and major corporations that do exactly what China is being accused of here.

Re:Transnationals do the same thing (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43196861)

Yep. Sony has been doing it forever, and Microsoft seems to have become a big fan of it lately as well. FaceBook was actually caught doing it against Google.

Re:Transnationals do the same thing (2, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | about a year ago | (#43196943)

The difference is the manipulation is Corp vs Corp, with traces and links to sub corps or hired PR firms. Where in China... anyone with seemingly no links or reason will start crap.
Wait a minute... Is China the most epic troll Country in the world?

Re:Transnationals do the same thing (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197195)

The only difference between China and the US is that the revolving door is on a different part of the horizon. The end result is the same.

Re:Transnationals do the same thing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197217)

The difference is the manipulation is Corp vs Corp, with traces and links to sub corps or hired PR firms. Where in China... anyone with seemingly no links or reason will start crap.

Are you fucking kidding me?
Just because YOU can find no traces or links makes a "difference"?

China should love Apple! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43196865)

China and Apple have the same mentality:

We know what is best for you, and we will not give you any choice about that.

They're cut from the same mold.

Re:China should love Apple! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43196877)

Apple need an 'infinite loop square' complete with a picture of chairman Jobs.

Re:China should love Apple! (0, Offtopic)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#43197317)

China and Apple have the same mentality:

We know what is best for you, and we will not give you any choice about that.

The difference being that Apple is often right -- and when it isn't, its users are free to switch over to the competition instead.

Re:China should love Apple! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197405)

Haha, now who's astroturfing?

Re:China should love Apple! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197729)

The OP and the moderators are astroturfing. They are, at best, anti-fanboys who can't think critically.

I can buy any product I want. There are Apple products I don't want so I don't buy them. There are others I have purchased. Apple can have whatever attitude they want to have. If I don't like something they offer as a result of that attitude, I can walk away at any time.

People who live in China don't have a choice, period. And the consequences of not going along can be dire.

To say that Apple and China are from the same mold is not only ridiculous, but so offensive to oppressed Chinese that the moderators who modded that crap up should be blacklisted from mod points for life.

Re:China should love Apple! (2)

dpidcoe (2606549) | about a year ago | (#43197429)

China and Apple have the same mentality:

We know what is best for you, and we will not give you any choice about that.

There can only be one!

Re:China should love Apple! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197885)

China is not a brand. The Chinese leadership makes political decisions, and are technically empowered by the Chinese.

Apple is a brand. Apple leadership makes decisions based on what is good for their business. Apple is a publically owned and traded incorporation. Apple is empowered by the fruits of their business successes, or profit, and ultimately, their customers. Apple first and foremost gives you a choice: you can buy our product, or not. As far as I know, Apple has never executed dissidents nor has any authority to do so.

Foxconn (5, Insightful)

udachny (2454394) | about a year ago | (#43196899)

Apple production facilities are in China already, aren't they? Foxconn if I am not mistaken? If Chinese GOVERNMENT wanted to hurt Apple, they'd start there.

This is not government by itself, this is some competitor using his ties to the government channels maybe?

Re:Foxconn (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197013)

If the government went after the Apple-Foxconn relationship, it would be obvious that they want to hurt Apple, which would draw condemnation. They don't want that; they want a groundswell of "the little people" patriotically choosing to boycott Apple in order to hurt Apple. This is the entire purpose of Astroturfing -- altering public perception WITHOUT being obvious.

Re:Foxconn (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year ago | (#43197041)

Chinese government makes money off of Foxconn's business, why would they purposefully hurt it?

Re:Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197097)

To promote Chinese-only businesses? To make Foxconn switch to building for Chinese-only businesses? Apple's making a lot more money than Foxconn is.

Re:Foxconn (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year ago | (#43197125)

Except that if there was Chinese only business in this case that would be comparable to Apple, Foxconn would have been working with it already. To Foxconn it doesn't matter whether it's Apple or Dell or some Chinese company ordering parts and assembly of finished product, Foxconn is not going to make more money from a Chinese only business than it makes from Apple, which sells its products around the world.

Apple is a world wide label, it's not only selling in China, it's selling everywhere, on every continent. For the Chinese to achieve the same level of market penetration, they would have to have a similar brand and by hurting Apple only within its own borders, China would only lose a some percentage of Apple/Foxconn revenues derived from the Chinese market.

No, this sounds petty, not government like.

Re:Foxconn (2)

longk (2637033) | about a year ago | (#43197283)

There's government and then there's government. The same thing happens in the US and elsewhere.

It's very possible that lower level government officials are pulling this off. Whether that's for their own misguided ideas or as a favor to a business friend doesn't really matter.

Don't forget the CCP has over 80 million members. That's a lot of people pulling strings and effecting actions that aren't necessarily following guidelines of whatever you would see as the central government.

Re:Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197103)

Now you're arguing against yourself. You should know that Foxconn makes more than just iPhones. Remember how little labor adds to the cost of a phone? A successfully launched boycott of Apple would not hurt Foxconn as much as it would hurt Apple.

Re:Foxconn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197161)

Additionally, a Chinese domestic boycott of Apple does not mean Foxconn stops making iPhones for export. Think on that for a moment. Apple loses market share in mainland China, closing off an avenue of capital outflow, but Foxconn/China still rides on the Apple profit train in the rest of the world. Good way to stave off future trade deficits. Maybe that's what the government is fearing.

Re:Foxconn (3, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43197231)

"If Chinese GOVERNMENT wanted to hurt Apple, they'd start there."

It's government all right. And no, they most definitely would NOT start there.

The Chinese government is a crowd of sneaky back-stabbers. They want our business, but they also want to steal all our secrets. So they leave the businesses (mainly) alone, at least to our faces. Then they hack and grab when they think we aren't looking.

It's far past time we dropped China as a Most Favored Nation trading partner, and brought our manufacturing back home.

Re:Foxconn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197321)

No offense but you're part of the problem...posting from your Chinese made computer, and talking on your Chinese made smartphone.

Re:Foxconn (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43197433)

No offense but fuck off. I did not buy a Chinese made computer, and I do not use a Chinese made smart phone.

If you want to say U.S. consumers in general have been part of the problem, I agree. But you should be careful about making claims about people you don't know.

Re:Foxconn (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year ago | (#43197333)

It's far past time we dropped China as a Most Favored Nation trading partner, and brought our manufacturing back home.

- what does it mean, 'we' in this context? Apple is not a government enterprise (yet!) So unless you are talking about nationalization of successful international businesses, then your comment has no meaning. The only way it would make sense is if you suggested that US government should turn around and actually provide a business friendly environment inside the country (or if you suggested nationalizing Apple and such, but that would only ensure that foreign Apple business and money would never return to USA).

Re:Foxconn (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43197423)

"So unless you are talking about nationalization of successful international businesses, then your comment has no meaning."

As far as I know, the U.S. government is the only entity that has declared "most favored trading partner", so of course I was referring to the U.S.

"The only way it would make sense is if you suggested that US government should turn around and actually provide a business friendly environment inside the country"

I disagree. Many companies are (with or without the U.S. government) ceasing their offshore outsourcing of manufacturing. It isn't as economical as it once appeared to be. And (although I doubt this is their primary motivation) offshoring has also been shown to be damaging to our economy.

No, of course I wasn't suggesting "nationalizing" any businesses.

Re:Foxconn (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year ago | (#43197545)

Yes, China is USA's "most favored trading partner", because what it actually means is that China is willing to subsidize USA consumption by providing vendor financing. So the Chinese work in the factories that produce various products and ship them outside of China and in return the foreigners ship in USD or Euro or whatever, and Chinese government takes these currencies off the hands of the exporters and to do it, Chinese monetary authority prints renminbi. So this is direct inflation in China, which immediately results in higher commodity prices and various asset class bubbles (housing as an example). This hurts the Chinese economy by not allowing the Chines laborers to get the productivity growth that they actually achieved, all of their productivity is being used to subsidize foreign consumption.

Actually it is China that would gain tremendously if the Chinese government allowed renminbi to float, because all of a sudden all of these foreign economies would not be able to afford Chinese made products. To USA for example this spells disaster in the short run. The 500 Billion / year trade deficit means that USA would have to go without all of those products. I am saying 'in the short run', as in for a few years, until USA manages to rebuild some of its production capacity (and it won't be easy). But for example look at the seafood products, 90% of it is imported into USA from Asia. You think it's easy to restart the process, once you have no equipment, no industrial processes, no supply chain even to manage the catch? No, that would take real austerity, as in huge cuts to government, enormous cuts, huge reduction in taxes and in social welfare state payouts. The private industry would have to save a lot of money before it could restart production in USA. In the long run that is the correct thing to do, but in the short while it would spell enormous shift in the economy, away from service and government and away from the financial sectors, back to the manufacturing, back to agriculture, mining, shipping, all that stuff that USA decided it was above as it lived on inflation and borrowing.

But I can easily see another possible situation, as the things get really bad in USA the government would declare some form of 'emergency' and one thing we know about government declared 'emergencies', they are really good to hold power (Egypt, Libya come to mind). In an emergency a government can easily declare a huge tax increase and straight out nationalization of resources and companies, but in case of Apple, GE and such, they are well positioned to escape such calamity, as they have huge reserves outside of USA.

Who would really suffer would be the middle class and the poorest of people in that situation, they probably wouldn't even be allowed to leave the country (unless they pay out their portion of the national and unfunded debt for example). Already the USA government made it harder to just drop citizenship by increasing the form fee from 0 to 400USD and what's to stop it from raising that number to any arbitrary amount? IRS can take away people's passports or prevent them from getting passports if they owe 20K or more in back taxes (so you can't even go for a vacation or on a business trip if IRS says you owe taxes).

That fence on the border... you think it's a good policy to 'bring manufacturing home', yes it is, but the way it just may happen is by closing that fence and not letting you out and forcing you into labor camps of some sort. Remember, everybody in USSR had a job....

Re:Foxconn (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year ago | (#43197517)

Given a bit more time, machines will make China's population irrelevant to producing widgets. When that happens, it will be cheaper for U.S. manufacturers to produce in the U.S. It won't necessarily increase employment by a big whack in the U.S., but it will make securing designs and company secrets easier and also make manufacturing more flexible.

Re:Foxconn (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#43197899)

Plenty of cheap labour outside of Asia.

If on-shoring isn't feasible, perhaps US companies could look to their own region. e.g. stimulating a tech sector in central america.

Re:Foxconn (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year ago | (#43197425)

If the Chinese government directly or indirectly intervenes with Apple production lines in China, sure they can damage Apple. But that would also scare the crap out of pretty much every other foreign company which will probably resulting in them moving away from China. Without foreign business, China economy crumble. Such a move will be suicide for China. If the Chinese want to disrupt Apple(or any other major company) business, they must be as subtle as possible.

Re:Foxconn (1)

udachny (2454394) | about a year ago | (#43197581)

My point is that there is no reason for the Chinese to attempt and damage Apple at all, it's an international label that produces in China and sells all over the world, including China. Apple's business in China brings money to China. If this is a government related activity at all, this has to be someone trying to use government for his own private gain in order to sell his own product, but I don't think it's an overall Chinese government strategy to attempt and hurt Apple as a business.

Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43196923)

...was followed by a wave of anti-Apple posts on Weibo (China's equivalent of Twitter) by Chinese celebrities

Shouldn't that just be called Chatter?

Anyway, I find it hard to believe anyone has to be paid to bash Apple. I do it for free! Should I have been getting paid all this time?

Not necessarily astroturfing (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43196931)

I've studied Chinese history extensively (even have my Bachelor's in it). While I would not put it past the Chinese government to do this, at the same time it's a complete and total fallacy to assume that a totalitarian government akin to the Chinese one can stay in power without the strong support of a sizable minority and the tacit support or disinterest of the majority of people. Generally my experience with the Chinese shows that there are 1-3 out of every ten that support the government's actions, which is typically enough to keep them in power as long as the remaining 7 are apathetic.

Also, the Government is facing an existential crisis. They've built their legitimacy to rule on the idea that they could keep growing and prosper, and it worked as they built an export economy built on cheap labor. Now with the global economic downturn they've been unable to maintain the steady job growth, while at the same time many Chinese are prospering and looking for more than just a low paying factory job. They're trying to build a consumer economy but that shift takes time, so they've turned to nationalism instead to redirect any dissension in the populace outwards instead of inwards; see the whole Senkaku island spat between China and Japan. This is another example of it; they're turning their people ever so slightly against America to help unify them.

Re:Not necessarily astroturfing (2)

longk (2637033) | about a year ago | (#43197375)

1-3? Living in China for 7+ years now I can tell you that probably more than 90% of them support the government. Sure they'll bitch and moan about their leades, but if you ask them which system they would prefer (China, US or something European) they're sticking to the Chinese system.

IMHO, this is no different from most western countries. We complain about our governments but very few of us would opt for the system of another country, even if that system is fairly similar to ours.

Well of course... (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about a year ago | (#43197653)

They have no experience of another system of government and most people are conservative. It's just like Americans being fearful of "socialised" medicine - unless they've spent enough time in Europe to get to know another system.

Re:Not necessarily astroturfing (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year ago | (#43197559)

"This is another example of it; they're turning their people ever so slightly against America to help unify them." While that is true, I doubt it will be as effective as it has been in the past. My sense is that the internet causes tripwires for manipulation, people don't like being manipulated and when there are other sources of information that what is spewed from government, government spew tends to look dumb. The Chinese people, if what I read currently is correct, are already establishing a sort of underground language for talking about their government spew. They use words and phrases to mean things different than their dictionary definition. So while the Chinese spew-masters may think they are unifying the people, they may be unifying them in a way they never intended.

Re:Not necessarily astroturfing (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about a year ago | (#43197665)

This reminds me of the system for translating Pravda:

Fraternal discussions - nobody got hurt
Friendly discussions - we're still at the talking phase
Frank and friendly discussions - we told you to stop doing that, now stop doing it.
Frank discussions - the tanks are rolling.

Nothing to look at here (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43196975)

Let's move along. Post around 11:20 am.

Reminds me of a story (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43196995)

Back before e-mail, someone wrote a letter to the offices of some company, complaining about their product or service. A few days later, he received a nicely worded apologetic letter. Attached to the letter was the post-it note, written by the recipient in the company which read, "Send this son-of-a-bitch our standard apology form letter."

another day, another anit-China article (-1, Troll)

coffee-breaks (2867847) | about a year ago | (#43197015)

What's up, /.? Have you become a mouthpiece for US gov? You sicken me.

Re:another day, another anit-China article (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197057)

Post around 11:38PM Shanghai time.

I suspect everything and anyone of all things. (1)

Alan Warrick (2867845) | about a year ago | (#43197079)

In other news polar bears are suspected of causing global warming. You heard it here first slashdot. In case some how it is proven 100's of years from now.

Re:I suspect everything and anyone of all things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197357)

Shut up douche nozzle.

Sick of this 'got hacked' nonsense. (5, Insightful)

Gadget27 (1931378) | about a year ago | (#43197085)

This has to be the third or fourth story I read in recent weeks where someone made a post or tweet that was either inappropriately worded, or outright incorrect for its purpose, as this one looks to be. In all these cases, the account owners shrug it off as their account being hacked, as if it's something so common it happens to all of us weekly, in order to cover their ass.
It seems 'my account got hacked' is quickly becoming the 21st century 'my dog ate my homework' bullshit excuse. Let's just be sure not to forget the 'bullshit' part of that.

Re:Sick of this 'got hacked' nonsense. (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#43197307)

account owners shrug it off as their account being hacked, as if it's something so common it happens to all of us weekly

From what I've read, in China it may well happen to people weekly. Talk about a festering hellhole of information insecurity... between the government hacking corps, the theft and physical bugging of laptops, the Great Firewall of China, and the industrial espionage and corruption, I'm surprised any computing gets done there at all. :^P

Re:Sick of this 'got hacked' nonsense. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#43197351)

Except that accounts DO get hacked on a massive scale and passwords are stolen by the millions.
Read the news.

What possible reason is there for stealing twitter accounts or Facebook accounts other than for mischief?

Finally! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197149)

After all this negative hacking publicity and a precarious human rights situation, finally some good news from China ...

Guy Kawasaki must be proud (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about a year ago | (#43197175)

The Chinese have been reading his book.

Re:Guy Kawasaki must be proud (1)

longk (2637033) | about a year ago | (#43197235)

Which one?

Blah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197253)

Slashdot is turning into a hypocritical pro-USA outlet with all this demonizing of China. I think the Chinese should stop beating around the bush and just kick all big American corporations out of their country. There is an inevitable cold war building up between the two anyway.

Re:Blah (1)

mc6809e (214243) | about a year ago | (#43197401)

Slashdot is turning into a hypocritical pro-USA outlet with all this demonizing of China. I think the Chinese should stop beating around the bush and just kick all big American corporations out of their country. There is an inevitable cold war building up between the two anyway.

The cold war began in 1949 when China went communist, despite receiving help from the USA during World War 2.

They even sent Chinese to help the North Vietnamese kill Americans in Vietnam during the Vietnam war.

Even so the USA reached out to China. Trade was increased. We allowed technology developed in the USA to make its way into China. We allowed China to access the internet and much of the information and knowledge the West has to offer. We've tried being friends.

Still China stabs the USA in the back.

Is it a mistake then to trust China?

Re:Blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197591)

You make USA out to be some benevolent deity, and even bring the Vietnam war up despite it being one of the greatest violations and shames of the USA. You must be completely indoctrinated. It seems you have plenty of schooling, maybe you should try some actual education?

Re:Blah (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43197625)

I don't think it's fair to characterize direct US support of China during WWII as anything but pretty minimal and rather late.

The US didn't enter the war until after Pearl Harbor, and supply routes were were pretty much controlled by Japan at that point. The only way materials could be gotten in was airlift over the 'hump' aka the Himalayas.

Of course the USN working its way across the Pacific was a help in that it relieved pressure on China. But it was somewhat indirect.

Re:Blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197691)

Yeah! How dare the rest of the world decide things for themselves without so much as a by your leave!

Re:Blah (4, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43197975)

Slashdot is turning into a hypocritical pro-USA outlet

Slashdot is, and has always been, a US site.

with all this demonizing of China.

You can't "demonize" a demon. China is still a corrupt communist dictatorship.

I think the Chinese should stop beating around the bush and just kick all big American corporations out of their country.

They tried isolationism for a few centuries and it didn't work: the West surpassed them technologically and economically and then kicked their butts. The Chinese leadership is corrupt and totalitarian, but it isn't stupid. They keep Western companies in China to steal their technology, and the West plays along because we get cheap consumer goods. It's probably a reasonable deal, since technology is as short lived as a Chinese-made Barbie doll.

Suits Psyga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197263)

Well, we already know he's on Smart Brain's payroll...

50 Cent Brigade (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197301)

The Chinese Communist Party has a group of people (mostly off-duty journalists, students, and such) called the 50 Cent Brigade. They pay them the equivalent of 50 cents every time they post a comment online to sway public opinion in the direction of the Party. This group probably isn't involved with the celebrities posting stuff on Twtitter, but the intention would be the same. Keep in mind that "Perception Management" is a big thing for the Chinese Communist Party--it's why they keep the entire country's media on such a short leash, why the censor the Internet, and why they censor keywords on their permitted social media platforms.

Another Astroturfer: (2)

Hartree (191324) | about a year ago | (#43197713)

It's obvious you're just a shill for the the American running dog government posting on behalf of their lackey, Apple. [need to post at 1:45 pm]

False flag. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197365)

Apple is responsible. The goal here is to get you to feel that apple is a victim.

If this story did not benefit apple, would you even be reading it right now?

we need to know what Apple did in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197369)

I read the tweet on Weibo. I watched the TV show about Apple.
I am just wondering if what the tweet and the TV show want to tell us is true.
Seems none of you guys here think about it.

Storm in a tea cup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197637)

Apple made their bed, no one hgeld a gun to the corporations head (well except greed) and forced them, to outsource to China.

Im confused (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about a year ago | (#43197815)

Who am I supposed to be rooting for here? If they dual to the death is it a win-win-win?

Biting the hand that feeds them (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year ago | (#43197821)

It may seem like it but Apple doesn't need China. Even with the stock buy back and dividends Apple has over 110 billion in the bank. Building their own factories and moving back to the US or a friendlier country would slightly reduce their massive profits. The good will could actually increase sales enough to offset the costs if they moved back to the US. Unless they think of something to do with the money they will likely have in excess of 200 billion in the bank by 2020. They could easily finance 10 missions to Mars so moving back the the US would barely dent their war chest.

You clearly have not been on CNN.com recently (0)

gelfling (6534) | about a year ago | (#43197839)

There is not a single word printed in their Tech tab that isn't clearly paid propaganda by someone, either for Apple or Samsung.

mod UP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43197895)

Move any equipment smeels worse than a

beginners (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43197949)

So, the Chinese government is new to this. Companies and governments in the West are much better at recruiting each other and the people to do their propagandistic bidding for them.

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