Published: Thu, October 10, 2019
Tech | By

Apple Reverses Course Again, Bans Controversial Hong Kong App

Apple Reverses Course Again, Bans Controversial Hong Kong App

Just days after Blizzard caught fire for removing an esports player for saying "Liberate Hong Kong", "Revolution of our age!" during a live stream, Apple is now under attack for removing two apps connected to the Hong Kong movement.

The app, it said, "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 app, HKmap.live, represented clusters of police with the emoji of a dog, an insult that has been shouted at Hong Kong police during the ongoing protests in the city.

HKmap.live published the App Store Review's statement on its Telegram channel, which has more than 70,000 subscribers.

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".

Under Apple's rules and policies, apps that meet its standards to appear in the App Store have sometimes been removed after their release if they were found to facilitate illegal activity or threaten public safety.

HKmap.live is not the only app to get removed from the App Store.

There have been calls on the mainland to censor Glory to Hong Kong on iTunes Store and Apple Music, a Cantonese song that has become a rallying cry and protest anthem, but Chinese people have gone online to say the song encourages radicals to stir up more mayhem.

Another version of the app is available for smartphones that use the Android operating system, and the platform can also be accessed on a web browser.


"Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision".

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

With a 6-month-old baby boy at home, Ng said she has not joined the protests.

In Hong Kong, users of HK Maps said the application helped them steer clear of police patrols whose riot-control methods and policing during the crisis have been widely decried as heavy-handed, undermining public support for what long was considered one of Asia's best police forces.

A desktop version of the app also shows real-time positions of police officers and vans across Hong Kong.

The NBA sports league found itself in hot water after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the Hong Kong protests.

The tech giant's pulling of HKmap.live was blasted as bowing to China and comes as high-profile brands, including the National Basketball Association and its Houston Rockets franchise, come under pressure from communist authorities over perceived support for democracy demonstrations in the financial hub.

Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, also is an important asset for China.

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