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Apple removes Hong Kong map app after Chinese criticism

A display of the app "HKmap.live" designed by an outside supplier and available on Apple Inc.'s online store is seen in Hong Kong Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. 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. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

BEIJING — Apple Inc. has removed a smartphone app that allowed Hong Kong activists to report police movements from its online store following official Chinese criticism.

HKmap.live was available on Apple’s store early Thursday but had disappeared by midday.

The app’s developers distributed a message they said was from Apple that said HKmap.live was removed because it “has been used to target and ambush police” and “threaten public safety.”

Apple became the latest company to come under pressure to take Beijing’s side against the demonstrators when the ruling Communist Party newspaper on Wednesday said HKmap.live “facilitates illegal behaviour” and asked whether Apple was “guiding Hong Kong thugs.”

Apple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Associated Press