Apple pulls Hong Kong app used by protesters after China warning

Apple Becomes Latest U.S. Company To Cross China Over Hong Kong Protests

Apple Becomes Latest U.S. Company To Cross China Over Hong Kong Protests

Apple said in a statement on Thursday that the mapping app, named HKmap.live, had been removed "because it has been used to target and ambush police" and to "threaten public safety".

Apple rejected the crowdsourcing app, HKmap.live, earlier this month but then reversed course last week.

The tech firm said in their statement that they immediately began an investigation after "many concerned customers in Hong Kong" contacted them, concerned the app was aiding and abetting violence.

Apple's decision to approve the app had provoked strong condemnation from the Chinese state media, with People's Daily - a Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece - claiming that "allowing the "poisonous" app to flourish is a betrayal of the Chinese people's feelings".

American gaming company Blizzard Entertainment has also faced backlash and a possible boycott after it banned a player for making public comments supporting the Hong Kong protests during a tournament.

The app's developer posted a message on Twitter saying that Apple had withdrawn it from its store and copied a part of Apple's notice.

That's not all. Apple has acquiesced to a number of other demands over the years, including removing VPN apps from the Chinese App Store - thereby restricting users from accessing overseas sites - and censoring Hong Kong singers from the Chinese version of Apple Music.

"The majority of user review [s] in App Store ... suggest HKmap improved public safety, not the opposite", it added.

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In a separate move, Apple also removed the Quartz news app from its App Store in China because Chinese authorities said the app violated local laws.

"We abhor this kind of government censorship of the internet", said Quartz CEO Zach Seward.

The company said Apple's decision was "clearly a political decision to suppress freedom and human rights in #Hong Kong".

Activists complain Beijing and Hong Kong leaders are eroding the autonomy and Western-style civil liberties promised to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997.

In 2011, Apple modified its app store to remove apps that listed locations for drunk-driving checkpoints not previously published by law enforcement officials.

The app maker accused Apple of removing HKmap.live in a deliberate "decision to suppress freedom and human right in #HongKong", and added that it was "disappointing to see USA corps such as @Apple, @NBA, @Blizzard_Ent, @TiffanyAndCo act against #freedom".

"Does the entire world have to suck up to the garbage Communist Party?" one commentator called Yip Lou Jie said in an online forum, LIHKG, which is used by protestors in Hong Kong.

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