Apple removes map app in Hong Kong after Chinese criticism

BEIJING (AP) – Apple removed a smartphone app that allows Hong Kong activists to report police movements from its online store on Thursday after an official Chinese newspaper accused the company of facilitating illegal behavior.

Apple Inc. became the latest company to come under pressure to take Beijing's side against anti-government protesters when the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily on Wednesday said the app "facilitates illegal behavior." The newspaper asked, "Does Apple guide Hong Kong crooks?"

Apple said in a statement that was removed because it "has been used to target and ambush police" and "threaten public safety." It said it violates local law and Apple guidelines. allows users to report police locations, use of tear gas and other details added to a regularly updated map. Another version is available for smartphones using the Android operating system.

"We have confirmed 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 make residents victims in areas where they know there are no law enforcement, it says in the Apple statement. "This app violates our policies and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store." on Greater Democracy.

Activists complain Beijing and Hong Kong leaders erode Western-style autonomy and civil rights promised to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997.

Apple criticism followed government attack which started last weekend at the National Basketball Association over a comment by the Houston Rockets general manager in support of the protesters. V has canceled broadcasts of NBA games.

People's Daily warned Apple to hurt its reputation with Chinese consumers.

"Apple needs to think deeply," the newspaper said.

Brands previously targeted by Beijing have been subjected to campaigns by the entirely state-controlled press to remove consumers or disrupt investigations by tax authorities and other regulators.

China has long been critical of Apple's business.

The mainland is Apple's second largest market after the United States, but CEO Tim Cook says it will eventually become No. 1.

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

Most of the iPhones and tablets are assembled in Chinese factories. which employs hundreds of thousands of people. Chinese suppliers supply components for Mac Pro computers assembled in Texas.

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