China Accuses Apple of 'Protecting Rioters' After Approving HKmap Live for the App Store

Wednesday October 9, 2019 4:39 AM PDT by Tim Hardwick

Apple has come under attack from China for allowing an app in its App Store that is being used by Hong Kong protestors to track protests and police movements in the city state (via The Guardian).

Last week we reported that Apple was reviewing its decision to reject the HKmap Live app from the ‌App Store‌ while it investigated whether the software violates local laws. HKmap Live has been used extensively by pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong to crowdsource information about street closures and police presence.

Apple ultimately approved the app, which has become the most downloaded app under the travel category in the iOS ‌App Store‌ for Hong Kong – a fact that appears to have attracted the ire of the mainland Chinese administration.

On Wednesday, China's state media accused the tech giant of endorsing and protecting "rioters" in Hong Kong's ongoing protests. The condemnation came via the People's Daily, a recognized Chinese Communist party mouthpiece.

The commentary, the print-version of which ran with the headline "Protecting rioters – Has Apple thought clearly about this?", denounced Apple for "allowing the poisonous app to flourish," which it called "a betrayal of the Chinese people's feelings."

It said Apple's approval of HKmap Live, which it did not specifically name, made it an "accomplice" in the protests because it "blatantly protects and endorses the rioters," and questioned what the company's intentions were.

It also criticized 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 iTunes Store.

The map app is just the tip of the iceberg. In the Apple Music Store in Hong Kong, there was also a song advocating "Hong Kong independence." Such a song was once removed from the music store and has resurrected.

As a company with international influence, Apple has always enjoyed a high reputation. A company has its own standards of conduct, but should also have its social responsibilities. If Apple abandons its responsibilities and let violent acts get worse, it puts more users at risk.

Business is business, and politics is politics. Nobody wants to drag Apple into the lingering unrest in Hong Kong. But people have reason to assume that Apple is mixing business with politics, and even illegal acts. Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision.

While it appears that Apple deemed the HKmap Live app to be legal, it has acted to remove apps from the ‌App Store‌ to abide by Chinese law in the past.

In July 2017, it removed most VPN apps from the ‌App Store‌ in China, following regulations passed earlier in the year that require such apps to be authorized by the Chinese government. Later the same year, Apple removed Skype from the App Store in China to comply with local law.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

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25 weeks ago


"Rioters" is an incorrect term. They are foreign-backed terrorists who do more than property damage, but derail _passenger_ trains and beat civilians and journalists, usually unprovoked. They have received at least $29 million dollars from a foreign government organization which is run by the head of the Contra program. They've met with Western government officials and are seen as being instructed by agents from the west working with them in HK. They wave American flags, and praise Trump and Neo-Nazi favourite "PePe" the frog through signs and spray paint. They ask the West to invade using their military.

Their goal is cripple the economy through fear, destruction of transportation infrastructure and violence that makes many afraid to leave their homes or open their businesses. And it's clearly a network, with leaders praised by war mongers. Remember when the US trained Al Qaeda and so many other violent groups? Pulling off the same in China will be hard, but that seems to be what the West hopes to do.

If I made an Al Qaeda app, to help extremists discuss, meet and locate one another, I'd be in big trouble. When the same is done to aid enemies of China, Apple approves it.

Integrating HK into China will be a slow process, they know this. After the outrageous murder of a Chinese girl by a HK teen who is now walking free, the justice system recommended a small step: extradition for crimes committed in other countries. HK folks can't just murder folks and then go home to face no punishment. But send in professionals in psyops, lie in the Western media, train and finance terrorists, and you have a may just get a new Eastern Contra style system that can damage the country at large.

But I think China is wise and will solve this attempt at proxy attack.

Oh shoot...we found the official Chinese government Macrumors account.
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 weeks ago
I’m disgusted about Chinese regime...
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 weeks ago
They are worse than North Korea. At least the world isn’t sucking up to them for business reasons. Money money money
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 weeks ago
Apple, hurry up and move all manufacturing out of the country and stop doing business there. Your bottom line will take a hit, but your reputation won't. Either you have values that span the globe or you don't.

This "we operate by the law in each country" PR line doesn't hold water anymore.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 weeks ago


"Rioters" is an incorrect term. They are foreign-backed terrorists who do more than property damage, but derail _passenger_ trains and beat civilians and journalists, usually unprovoked. They have received at least $29 million dollars from a foreign government organization which is run by the head of the Contra program. They've met with Western government officials and are seen as being instructed by agents from the west working with them in HK. They wave American flags, and praise Trump and Neo-Nazi favourite "PePe" the frog through signs and spray paint. They ask the West to invade using their military.

Their goal is cripple the economy through fear, destruction of transportation infrastructure and violence that makes many afraid to leave their homes or open their businesses. And it's clearly a network, with leaders praised by war mongers. Remember when the US trained Al Qaeda and so many other violent groups? Pulling off the same in China will be hard, but that seems to be what the West hopes to do.

If I made an Al Qaeda app, to help extremists discuss, meet and locate one another, I'd be in big trouble. When the same is done to aid enemies of China, Apple approves it.

Integrating HK into China will be a slow process, they know this. After the outrageous murder of a Chinese girl by a HK teen who is now walking free, the justice system recommended a small step: extradition for crimes committed in other countries. HK folks can't just murder folks and then go home to face no punishment. But send in professionals in psyops, lie in the Western media, train and finance terrorists, and you have a may just get a new Eastern Contra style system that can damage the country at large.

But I think China is wise and will solve this attempt at proxy attack.

Be careful of disagreeing with the People’s Daily, you will lose Social Credits. If they want to call the Hong Kong protesters rioters, you need to agree with them. You do not want to end up in re-education camps like the Uighurs.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
25 weeks ago
The reality of doing business in China is revealing itself - the good and the bad. And companies that want to reap the profits from that market (cost savings or sales) are now going to face intolerable pressure and will have to make some tough choices.

I think the NBA obeisance is merely the first notable one. That policy isn’t sustainable in the long run.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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