Apple hit back at criticism over moves to comply with government censorship, emphasising its backing for freedom of information and expression in a statement outlining its human rights policy.

The company stated it believes “in the critical importance of an open society in which information flows freely,” which it explained sometimes results in conflict with government bodies.

“With dialogue, and a belief in the power of engagement, we try to find the solution that best serves our users, their privacy, their ability to express themselves, and their access to reliable information and helpful technology.”

In February, investors pushed Apple to respond to concerns related to its decision to remove VPN services from its App Store in China, calling for a public commitment to freedom of expression.

Apple faced further backlash in the middle of the year when it reportedly removed thousands more apps from its marketplace in China to comply with local laws.