Apple has been warned by the Chinese state media of dire consequences for approving a Hong Kong protest app into the App Store. The company had initially rejected the HKMap Live app from the App Store. It was being used by Hong Kong protestors to keep track of police movements and where the protests were taking place.
After international publications reported that the app was rejected, Apple got around to approving it on the App Store. Soon after its release, the app went ahead and became the most downloaded app in Hong Kong. The move has led to Apple being criticized by major Chinese state media including People’s Daily, a Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece.
The daily carried a news piece with the title “Protecting rioters – Has Apple thought clearly about this?” It called the app poisonous and said that it flourishing is a “betrayal of the Chinese people’s feelings.” It further said that by allowing the app on the App Store, Apple itself became an “accomplice” in the protests.
It also criticised Apple for allowing Glory to Hong Kong – an unofficial anthem frequently sung by protesters during the ongoing anti-government movement – to be available for download in the Apple music store.
In what appears to be a threat to its access to the vast market in China, the commentary said Apple’s “mixing of political, commercial and illegal activities” is “unwise” and “imprudent” and would only “draw more turbulence” for the company.
Apple has previously removed numerous apps from the App Store to adhere to Chinese local regulations. In this case, it remains to be seen if Apple will remove the HKMap Live app from the App Store due to pressure from Chinese media and government.
Update: Apple has removed the HKMap app from the App Store citing a breach of the App Store regulations.
App Store remove our App about half an hour ago, here is statement provided by Apple:
We created the App Store to be a safe and trusted place to discover apps. We have learned that your app has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong.
— HKmap.live 全港抗爭即時地圖 (@hkmaplive) October 10, 2019
[Via The Guardian]