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40 Times American Businesses Caved to Chinese Demands

40 Times American Businesses Caved to Chinese Demands

Vladimir Lenin is said to have once uttered: “When it comes time to hang the capitalists, they will vie with each other for the rope contract.”

Today U.S. companies appear intent on proving his prediction correct. 

After all, China’s communist government currently seems unusually adept at pulling the strings of U.S. corporate leaders. 

What China wants, U.S. companies give, over and over and over again.

So much so, we started a list at our sister site,, chronicling the many times U.S. companies happily kowtowed to Chinese demands. 

A few standout examples:

When China complained to Marriott about one of their employees “liked” a post from a Tibet independence group, Marriott dutifully fired the staffer. 

When China blew up at the NBA over the Houston Rockets owner tweeting his support for Hong Kong protesters, Nike obediently removed all of their Rockets-related products from their Chinese web store. 

Sadly, that’s just a small sample. Below, find a list of 32 times U.S. companies have caved to Chinese demands. If we’re missing any, please help keep our list updated

# Summary Date Source
1 Producers behind Red Dawn remake swapped Chinese flags and insignia for North Korean ones for fear of losing out on billion-dollar box office 11/23/2012 Daily Mail
2 ‘Star Wars’ China Poster Sparks Controversy After Shrinking John Boyega’s Character 12/04/2015 Variety
3 Cisco’s Latest Attempt to Dodge Responsibility for Facilitating Human Rights Abuses: Export Rules 04/18/2016 Electronic Frontier Foundation
4 Tibet Supporters Protest Marvel's 'Doctor Strange' over Changed Character 11/03/2016 NBC News
5 Marriott sacks employee who ‘liked’ Twitter post from Tibet independence group 01/13/2018 South China Morning Post
6 How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms 01/16/2018 Politico
7 Gap apologizes for China T-shirt that didn't include Taiwan 05/15/2018 CNN
8 Apple’s iCloud partner in China will store user data on servers of state-run telecom 07/18/2018 The Verge
9 US airlines just gave into China's 'Orwellian' demands over Taiwan — here's every company that's done the same 07/25/2018 Business Insider
10 US universities self-censor in fear of offending China 09/04/2018 The New Republic
11 Tom Cruise’s leather jacket in the ‘Top Gun’ sequel shows just how crucial China is as a movie market 07/19/2019 CNBC
12 Calvin Klein, Coach, Fresh, among other companies apologizing over Hong Kong tensions 08/16/2019 What's on Weibo
13 Taiwan hotel cuts ties with Marriott in protest at caving in to Beijing in naming row 08/16/2019 South China Morning Post
14 The stakes are too high for Apple to spin the iPhone exploits 09/06/2019 The Verge
15 Revealed: how TikTok censors videos that do not please Beijing 09/25/2019 The Guardian
16 Disney officially blocked Winnie the Pooh in HONG KONG 10/04/2019 Reddit
17 Apple rejects Hong Kong protest map from App Store, relents under pressure 10/06/2019 Digital Trends
18 Apple bows to China by censoring Taiwan flag emoji 10/07/2019 Quartz
19 Vans shoes face boycott calls after company removes design referring to Hong Kong protests 10/07/2019 The Hill
20 NBA's reaction to Morey tweet differs in English, Chinese 10/07/2019 Associated Press
21 Brooklyn Nets owner, Alibaba co-founder Tsai decries Houston Rockets GM's Hong Kong tweet 10/07/2019 Reuters
22 Nike Removes All Houston Rockets Related Products From Their China Webstore 10/08/2019 Fadeaway World
23 Tiffany removes advert over Hong Kong controversy 10/08/2019 Yahoo!
24 Hearthstone Pro Banned By Blizzard After Calling For Hong Kong Liberation During Stream 10/08/2019 IGN
25 Internal Memo: ESPN Forbids Discussion Of Chinese Politics When Discussing Daryl Morey's Tweet About Chinese Politics 10/08/2019 Deadspin
26 Apple removes ‘Quartz’ news app from Chinese App Store at request of the government 10/09/2019 9to5
27 Sixers fan supporting Hong Kong ejected from preseason game amid NBA-China controversy 10/09/2019 ABC News Philadelphia
28 Washington Wizards Security Confiscate "Free Hong Kong" Sign from Fans 10/09/2019 Twitter
29 ESPN acknowledges China's claims to South China Sea live on SportsCenter with graphic 10/10/2019 Reddit
30 Apple Safari browser sends some user IP addresses to Chinese conglomerate Tencent by default 10/10/2019 Reclaim the Net
31 Apple Told Some Apple TV+ Show Developers Not To Anger China 10/11/2019 BuzzFeed News
32 Exclusive: CEO of world’s largest e-sports firm ESL warns staff not to discuss Hong Kong protests 10/12/2019 Hong Kong Free Press
33 Report: Apple told Apple TV+ creators to avoid portraying China ‘in a poor light’ 10/12/2019 9to5
34 In 2017 Apple removed virtual private networks (VPNs) from its App Store because they allowed Internet users to evade government censorship 10/14/2019 NLPC
35 South East Asia angered after Dreamworks animated film "Abominable" includes scene depicting China with "nine-dash line" 10/16/2019 Reuters
36 Twitter Says Beijing’s Coronavirus Lies Are Just Fine 03/23/2020 Daily Beast
37 YouTube Censors Criticism of China 05/26/2020 Washington Free Beacon
38 Zoom closes account of U.S. based activist after Tiananmen event 06/10/2020 Axios
39 YouTube strips rising media company Epoch Times of ability to monetize video content 01/26/2021 Just the News
40 Apple helps China conduct surveillance on its citizens, suppress dissent, and promote Chinese propaganda 05/17/2021 The New York Times
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