Going head to head with someone with whom you disagree
It is easy for Apple to go head to head with Facebook or Google about creepy data collection; Apple collects less personal data about users and has owned up when it fails to meet its own standards. Apple isn't perfect but it is more trustworthy than Facebook or Google when it comes to personal data. It is slightly harder for Apple to challenge democratic governments about encryption backdoors or device unlocking. Apple are still the most stubborn big co when it comes to device privacy.
Apple is in a complete pickle however when dealing with China in political matters. The company has a lot of cash stuck in China. Apple, like many other electronics firms, is dependent on China for assembly and, to a lesser extent, component manufacture. Apple, and others like it, cannot afford to play the same games with the Chinese government that they play in democratic countries. No big tech firm has said NO to Beijing all of the time. All big companies have compromised their ethics in order to stay in business in China.
i suspect that some of the big firms are working out how to reduce their reliance on China. Others might be determining how to put an ethical face on their Chinese business. Getting the business out slowly, widening supply and manufacture chains, makes sense to me. Getting the money out of China's banks may be more problematic...