Washington— Apple CEO Tim Cook has ignored questions on violent protests in China which have hampered iPhone production at its key suppliers’ factories in the country.

Fox Business asked Cook several questions as he arrived on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to meet lawmakers late on Thursday.

Cook refused to comment on whether he supported the Chinese people’s right to protest and his thoughts on the factory workers beaten by authorities.

The Apple CEO also remained silent on whether he stood by his company’s business dealings with the Chinese Communist Party.

Cook was in Washington to meet with Republican leaders this week, as the House Judiciary Committee will look into antitrust issues related to the App Store.

The AirDrop feature allows users to share content between Apple devices. The tool was used widely during Hong Kong’s 2019 pro-democracy protests.

Earlier this month, an update to Apple iOS included an additional AirDrop feature applying only to iPhones sold in mainland China.

Under the update, iPhones can now only set their AirDrop to receive messages from “everyone” for 10 minutes before switching off.

The other settings allow for file-sharing between “contacts only” or “receiving off.”

Amid Covid-related protests in China, Apple is facing growing iPhone shortages.

According to reports, the company has seen $165 billion in market value erosion since last week on concerns of weak holiday sales.

Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro models’ shipments may reportedly drop by 20 million in the fourth quarter (Q4).

According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the shipments of iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models will be between 15 million and 20 million units lower than expected.

Last week, workers at Apple’s largest supplier Foxconn’s factory in China clashed with the security forces and company officials amid protests over late bonus payments during Covid lockdowns. (IANS)