The public, pundits, and Congress are keeping a close eye on Apple after they were recently accused of kowtowing to China and censoring on behalf of the Communist Chinese Government.
But that didn't stop Apple CEO Tim Cook allowing himself to be appointed as chairman of the advisory board at Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing, a position that could allow access to prominent Chinese leaders.
The Apple CEO will take the role for the next three years, replacing Jim Breyer, the founder, and chief executive of Breyer Capital, according to a note the University put out on WeChat this weekend.
Cook has been the first announced and will be working with members on the board who haven't yet been revealed. Those other appointments to the board, likely to be business executives and politicians, will likely offer clues on the relationship between Beijing and foreign business leaders at an extremely vulnerable time.
Apple is facing mounting challenges related to China. After being accused of censorship, ignoring China's human rights and privacy violations, changing its content output to not offend China, many have suggested that Apple is setting aside its principle in order to grow its market share and revenue.
US Senator Josh Hawley, who has recently been critical of Apple and questioning their affinity for China, asked of Tim Cook rhetorically on Twitter; “Will you teach a course on human liberties & Tiananmen Square? Maybe update students about what's happening in #HongKongProtests?”
Apple's Tim Cook joins board of People's Republic of China university management school. @tim_cook will you teach a course on human liberties & Tiananmen Square? Maybe update students about what's happening in #HongKongProtests? https://t.co/Y03tGhHJIu
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 21, 2019
Apple's growth in China is also sliding due to nationalist movements calling for consumers to switch to Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei during the trade war between China and the US.