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Apple Removes App Used by Hong Kong Protesters to Track Police After Pressure From China

Apple Removes App Used by Hong Kong Protesters to Track Police After Pressure From China

Apple removed an app used by Hong Kong protesters to track police movements from its app store after pressure from China, CNN reports.

Apple said it decided to take down the app because it was used in ways that "endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong.”

"The app displays police locations and we have verified with [Hong Kong authorities] that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement," the company told CNN. "This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store.”

The move came after the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper accused Apple of “escorting” the protesters.

"The app developer doesn't shy away from their intention of helping rioters navigate through the protests," the People's Daily said, according to CNN. "Are you trying to assist in crime?"

App makers slam Apple:

The app’s developers slammed Apple and called its move a “political decision.”

"We disagree [with] Apple and Hong Kong police force's claim that HKmap App endangers law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong," they said.

The developers said that the content on the app is user-generated and that moderators delete anything that tries to "solicit, promote, or encourage criminal activity."

The App Store ban "is clearly a political decision to suppress freedom and human rights in Hong Kong," they said.

China pushes political oppression into the US:

The controversy comes as China’s censorship of speech has made its way to the United States.

Earlier this week, the NBA and the Houston Rockets distanced themselves from a pro-protester tweet by Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey.

During a press conference Thursday, a CNN reporter was silenced by an NBA rep while asking Rockets players about the controversy.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle slammed the NBA for kowtowing to China, except Trump, who instead lashed out at NBA coaches who criticized him, which he called “talking badly about the United States.”

“I watch this guy Steve Kerr, and he was like a little boy,” Trump said. “He was so scared to be even answering the question. He couldn’t answer the question, he was shaking. He didn’t know how to answer the question. He’ll talk about the United States very badly.”

“I watched Popovich, sort of the same thing,” he added. “But he didn’t look quite as scared, actually. But they talk badly about the United States. But when the talk’s about China, they don’t want to say anything bad. I thought it was pretty sad, actually.”

“I watched the way that like Kerr, Popovich and some of the others were pandering to China,” Trump said. “And yet to our own country, it’s like they don’t respect it. It’s like they don’t respect it. I said what a difference. Isn’t it sad?”