Apple is the latest foreign company to catch heat in relation to the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which have lasted four months. "Apple jumped into this on its own and mixed together business with politics and commercial activity with illegal activities".
When the HKmap Live app was removed, Apple told the developers that: "Your app contains content - or facilitates, enables, and encourages an activity - that is not legal ... specifically, the app allowed users to evade law enforcement".
An Apple spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on this report.
"Apple's approval for the app obviously helps rioters".
The former British colony is still recovering after a long weekend of violent protests that brought the city to a virtual standstill, with the unprecedented closure of its metro rail system, shops, ATMs, and mainland China banks.More news: Oil prices rise due to protests in Iraq, Ecuador
The piece on the website of the People's Daily said Apple did not have a sense of right and wrong and ignored the truth. He was subsequently among the first candidates banned for running in citywide elections, as the China-backed government asserted that his past support for independence conflicted with Hong Kong's charter. What was its true intention?' the paper added.
The issue has become a red line for those doing business in China, most recently drawing the National Basketball Association into a firestorm over a tweet that's caused partners to stop doing business with the NBA and state television to halt airing its games.
After hearing arguments from both sides in court, a three-judge panel adjourned and said they would rule at a later date, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. The app was reportedly approved by the tech giant on October 4th.
There has been at least on past instance in which Apple acknowledged blocking an app at the Beijing's request.
Apple also removed the Taiwanese flag emoji from some iPhones, underscoring the hard balance the company must strike in supporting free speech while appeasing China.More news: Boeing and Porsche Working on Sleek Futuristic Flying Car — Meet George Jetson
Authorities have described protesters as "militant activists", but many Hong Kong residents are also angry at the emergency powers, fearing their civil rights could be eroded.
In particular, the app has drawn the ire of the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.
Asked whether the Chinese government had asked Apple to remove HKmap.live from its online store, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, said he had no information about that. According to Apple's figures, Greater China was the brand's third-largest market in terms of revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018, after the Americas and Europe, at $11.4 billion (€10.4 billion).
The proposed law has been withdrawn in the face of widespread popular outrage, but the protest movement has increased its momentum. Adding a pro-American strain, some protesters wave US flags and even sing "The Star- Spangled Banner".More news: Trump shelves October tariff hike after 'phase 1 deal' with China