Apple has bowed to pressure from the Chinese government by taking down an application from its app store that was being used by Hong Kong protestors to locate local police.
The US tech giant withdrew the app called HKmap.live from its App Store, through which users could know the whereabouts of the police officers that have been enforcing a brutal crackdown on anti-government protestors in recent months.
The decision arrived less than 24 hours after the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, claimed that Apple was assisting “rioters” in Hong Kong.
“Letting poisonous software have its way is a betrayal of the Chinese people’s feelings,” the article wrote, under a pseudonym.
Massive protests have been taking place since June, ignited by a controversial extradition bill that was passed which Hong Kong citizens see as a way of China’s government seizing more influence over its politics.
China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan combined are Apple’s second largest market behind the United States, suggesting that the company has a clear financial incentive to side with Beijing on matters that the government disapproves of.
The latest move by Apple adds to the growing concern that major companies in the Western world are now preferring to side with questionable regimes when put under pressure. As China’s global technological influence increases, particularly through the implementation of 5G networks, it sends a clear message that those who stand to be the arbitrators in areas like human rights and freedom of expression would cave to its biggest abusers for financial incentive.