BEIJING – Apple became the latest company targeted for Chinese pressure over protests in Hong Kong when the ruling Communist Party's main newspaper criticized the tech giant Wednesday for a smartphone app that allows activists to report police movements.
HKmap.live, designed by an outside supplier and available on Apple Inc.'s online store, “facilitates illegal behavior,” People's Daily said in a commentary.
“Is Apple guiding Hong Kong thugs?” the newspaper said.
Beijing has pressed companies including Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways to take the government's side against the protests, which are in their fourth month.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
HKmap.live allows users to report police locations, use of tear gas and other details that are added to a regularly updated map. Another version is available for smartphones that use the Android operating system.
Asked whether the Chinese government had asked Apple to remove HKmap.live from its online store, a foreign ministry spokesman said he had no information about that.
“What I can tell you is that these radical, violent crimes in Hong Kong have seriously challenged the legal system and social order in Hong Kong, threatened the safety of Hong Kong residents' lives and property, and undermined the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong,” said the spokesman, Geng Shuang.
“Anyone who has a conscience and justice should resist and oppose instead of supporting and indulging those actions,” Geng said at a regular news briefing.
The demonstrations began over a proposed extradition law.