China state newspaper criticises Apple for app use by Hong Kong protesters

Published: October 9, 2019
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While China may take aim at Apple in retaliation for US moves, experts believe that the company's size, cache, and years spent cultivating business relationships in China should protect it from any direct retaliation by Beijing. PHOTO: AFP

While China may take aim at Apple in retaliation for US moves, experts believe that the company's size, cache, and years spent cultivating business relationships in China should protect it from any direct retaliation by Beijing. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG: The Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, lashed out on Tuesday at Apple for allowing an app on its app store that tracks the movement of police around Hong Kong and is used by protesters in ongoing and sometimes violent demonstrations.

In a commentary, the newspaper did not mention the name of the location app, but it decried what it said was Apple’s complicity in helping the protesters and questioned whether Apple was “thinking clearly”.

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One such map is available on the Apple app store, the HKmap.live app has become a lightning rod on Twitter for criticism and support of the protests. The developer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Saturday in a tweet, they said that Apple had “many business considerations” but had “make thing(s) right.”

Apple is the latest foreign company to catch heat in relation to the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which have lasted four months.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and US sports brand Vans also have become embroiled in controversies over the protests.

The piece on the website of the People’s Daily said Apple did not have a sense of right and wrong and ignored the truth.

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Making the App available on Apple’s Hong Kong app store at this time was “opening the door” to violent protesters in the former British colony.

“Letting poisonous software have it’s the way is a betrayal of the Chinese people’s feelings,” the paper said.

Apple did not respond to a request for a comment.

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