Apple slammed for approving app that allegedly helps HK rioters

By Zhang Han Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/7 19:53:40

Photo: A screenshot of Twitter account of the

Chinese netizens are calling on Apple to delete an app that it once said encourages activity that is not legal and is allegedly being used by Hong Kong rioters to report real-time locations of Hong Kong police, a function which is believed to help rioters escape arrest.

The app is the mobile phone version of a website that claims to help users avoid so-called "sudden accidents," according to the website of the app developer BackHK. 

The Global Times found that, instead of marking riot sites, the app provides detailed information on police deployment including how many police vehicles are stationed at a location. 

Both the app and the website mark police officer with the emoji of dog, which is the rioters' frequently used insulting name for Hong Kong police.  

Web users believe the app was intended to help Hong Kong rioters escape arrest. Some also worried that rioters could use the app to locate and attack the police. 

The App Store once rejected the app as it "facilitates, enables and encourages an activity that is not legal" and it "allowes users to evade law enforcement," Bloomberg reported on Friday. 

The Global Times also found that the Apple App Store Review Guidelines require app developers to not "engage in harassment of any kind." 

Apple on Friday approved the app for sale in the Hong Kong region, according to Bloomberg. The app was not available in the Chinese mainland App Store. 

Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday that Apple approving the app shows the company is consistently promoting a political agenda in line with the West. 

The Global Times found that Apple lists Macao, Hong Kong and the island of Taiwan separately, without any reference to China's sovereignty. 

"Listing SARs separately and approving the map app are essentially the same — touching China's bottom line but bypassing legal risks," Zhi said.

Chinese iPhone users left several hundred messages expressing their discontent with the app developer and Apple on the App Store's comment page.   

"Apple touched Chinese people's bottom line," an iPhone user commented.

Apple did not reply to a request for comment by Global Times as of press time. 

Chen Qingqing contributed to this story

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