FORTUNE -- The drumbeat hasn't stopped.
Not only has China's Central TV been running regular follow ups to its March 15 expose on Apple's (AAPL) iPhone repair policies, but on Thursday People's Daily -- the Communist Party's official propaganda organ -- attacked the company for the fourth day in a row, devoting half a page to negative articles.
"One reported on a patent infringement suit lodged against Apple in a Shanghai court," according to the Christian Science Monitor. "Another recounted a People's Daily reporter's failure to secure an interview with an Apple executive in California, and yet another explained how Apple avoids taxes around the world. The paper lifted that last article from The New York Times."
What's going on? We've heard at least five theories:
That last theory is the one the Monitor seems to favor. "Just enough time has elapsed that they can avoid it looking like tit for tat," Mark Natkin, director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting, told the paper. "But they can make it plain that if you want to make things difficult for our companies, we can do the same for yours."
One last thought: It's also possible, as some have suggested, that CCTV was embarrassed when it was caught trying to stir-up public outrage by planting anti-Apple posts in the Chinese version of Twitter and that the various organs of Chinese state-run media have been trying to save face ever since by doubling down on their campaign. Seems far-fetched. Call it Theory 5.5. For background, see:
UPDATE: How Apple's return policy in China differ from the U.S. (Hint: It doesn't.)
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