Technology conglomerate, Apple, has drawn flak from China for an app that helps to track the position of Hong Kong Police.
Protesters use the app, called HKmap.live , that tracks the location of police patrols in Hong Kong. So, protesters can easily evade Police.
Apple had previously rejected the app, but reversed its decision on Friday and made the programme available for download from the iOS App Store on Saturday, according to the program’s developer.
Chinese state media on Tuesday accused Apple Inc of protecting “rioters” in Hong Kong and enabling illegal behaviour, after the US-based technology giant listed on its app store an application that tracks police activity in the city. The HKmap.live is reportedly the most downloaded app under the travel category in the iOS App Store for Hong Kong.
The condemnation, by the People’s Daily, a Chinese Communist party mouthpiece, appears to be China’s latest move to pressure foreign companies to toe the line after its state TV and Chinese companies cancelled collaboration with the US National Basketball Association(NBA) over comments by a team official in support of Hong Kong’s protests.
The app, HKmap.live, which crowdsources the location of police and anti-government protesters, was approved by Apple on 4 October and went on its App Store a day later, after the company reversed an earlier decision to reject the submission, according to an anonymous developer cited in the South China Morning Post. The app displays hotspots on a map of the city that is continuously updated as users report incidents, hence allowing protesters to avoid police.
Without specifically naming the app, the People’s Daily commentary said it allowed “Hong Kong rioters to openly commit crime while openly escaping arrests”. It said Apple’s approval of the app made it an “accomplice” in the protests because it “blatantly protects and endorses the rioters”.
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.
Apple is the latest foreign company to get into trouble with China over the anti-government protests in Hong Kong . Apart from the NBA's Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet showing support for protesters, Tiffany & Co has removed a tweet of an advertisement showing a model covering one eye, believed to be a deliberate gesture of solidarity with injured demonstrators.