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A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks. VPNs are critical tools that allow internet users to avert China’s oppressive information control and censorship. To a certain degree, they allow internet users to remain anonymous. Now, with Tim Cook’s new directive, Apple has lifted that thin veil of protection from the vulnerable groups evading Chinese censorship – especially Tibetans.

Online censorship by China has gone from bad to worse. Just five months ago, Gedhun, a Tibetan youth who posted images of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan flag online, was beaten and left in critical condition by Chinese authorities. Apple CEO Tim Cook must take responsibility because his actions will determine the fate of millions of internet users.

Companies like Apple need to be held accountable when they aid the restriction of information and internet freedom. Together, our actions will make a difference.

SFT’s Executive Director, Dorjee Tseten, hand-delivered a letter for Apple CEO Tim Cook at their corporate office in New York with an urgent appeal – Apple must re-allow VPNs in their app stores in China. Read Dorjee Tseten’s appeal letter here:


We’re not the only ones who think Apple is putting Tibetan lives at risk!

On October 19, 2017, U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Ted Cruz wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook questioning his company’s appalling decision to remove third-party VPN apps from its App Store in China, and specifically raising concerns over how Apple’s decision may be supporting China’s censorship and surveillance of Tibetans.

Help us thank both senators by sending an email, making a phone call, or simply tweeting them at @SenatorLeahy and @tedcruz

The senators not only raised their concerns in general, but they demanded answers to 10 specific questions, including questioning whether Apple has ever taken any action to stand up or speak out for Tibetans.

“When you received the Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award, you stated, ‘At Apple we are not just enabling others to speak up, we are doing so ourselves.’ Please provide copies of any statements that Apple has issued either promoting freedom of speech in China or condemning the Chinese government’s censorship and surveillance mechanisms, including with respect to human rights defenders, Tibetans, and Uyghurs.”

Read the full letter.



  1. Sign our petition to Tim Cook.
  2. Share the senators’ letter on social media.
  3. Ask your congressional representatives to join the senators in holding Apple accountable.
  4. Get your local group involved. Write to for action suggestions.

And please consider making a donation to help our campaign today!


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