Apple removes Hong Kong map app after Chinese criticism

Apple bans app that warns Hong Kong citizens about police activity again

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

Apple's withdrawal of the application from its App Store follows an accusation from China's state media that the app "obviously helps rioters".

Apple became the latest company targeted for Chinese pressure over protests in Hong Kong when the ruling Communist Party's main newspaper criticized the tech giant Wednesday for a smartphone app that allows activists to report police movements.

Apple has removed an app that protesters in Hong Kong have used to track police movements and tear gas use, saying the app violated its rules.

After initially dragging its feet in approving HKmap.live into its app store, the iPhone maker has abruptly reversed course and removed it.

"The app displays police locations and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement", the company said in a statement.

Apple did not comment beyond its statement, and the app's developer did not immediately have a comment on the removal.

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.

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 did not ever solicit, promote or encourge, criminal activity.

It's worth pointing out that apps like Google-owned Waze, which offer similar functionality by allowing users avoid police checkpoints, continue to be available on the App Store elsewhere - implying that Apple is clearly setting a double standard when it comes to app approvals.

On Tuesday, the People's Daily said Apple did not have a sense of right and wrong, and ignored the truth.

Apps previously have been removed after their release if they were found to facilitate illegal activity or threaten public safety.

Since the weekend, the National Basketball Association has found itself in hot water with China after the general manager of the Houston Rockets tweeted his support for the Hong Kong protests.

"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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