May 27, 2020

Apple Backtracks, Removes Hong Kong Police App In Response to Chinese Pressure


Riot police officers stand guard near the Causeway Bay station in Hong Kong, China, September 15, 2019. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)

Apple on Thursday withdrew an app that enabled protesters to track police movements after heavy backlash from Chinese and Hong Kong authorities.

The app,, 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.

Officials in Hong Kong told the company the app was being used to attack police. On Wednesday the Chinese Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily published an editorial attacking Apple for aiding “rioters” in the city.

“Letting poisonous software have its way is a betrayal of the Chinese people’s feelings,” the editorial stated.

Apple released a statement saying Hong Kong authorities have verified that the app has been used to “threaten public safety,” and that criminals have also been using it to avoid police.

“I think the [Communist Party] concludes from this that intimidation, harassment and pressure work for most people, in most places,” Human Rights Watch China researcher Maya Wang said in comments to the Times.

Most of Apple’s products are assembled in China, and the nation represents the company’s third-largest market after the U.S. and Europe.

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Zachary Evans
National Review