Hong Kong protesters clamor for release of detained activist

Supporters of Hong Kong activist Edward Leung gather outside the High Court in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. Last year, Leung was sentenced to six years in prison for his part in a violent nightlong clash with police over illegal street food hawkers two years ago.

HONG KONG (AP) — 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. A version is also available for smartphones that use the Android operating system.

Asked whether the Chinese government had asked Apple to remove the 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 and expanded to include other grievances and demands for greater democracy.

Criticism of Apple followed government attacks starting last weekend on the National Basketball Association over a comment by the general manager of the Houston Rockets in support of the protesters. China's state TV has canceled broadcasts of NBA games.

"Apple jumped into this on its own and mixed together business with politics and commercial activity with illegal activities," People's Daily said.

The newspaper warned Apple might be damaging its reputation with Chinese consumers.

Brands targeted in the past by Beijing have been subjected to campaigns by the entirely state-controlled press to drive away consumers or disruptive investigations by tax and other regulators.

"This recklessness will cause much trouble for Apple," People's Daily said. "Apple needs to think deeply."

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.