Still, some say Apple's decision over the app looks like a rare mis-step for a company that has otherwise adroitly navigated the US-China trade war in the past year. "We once believed the App rejection is simply a bureaucratic f up (fuck up), but now it is clearly a political decision to suppress freedom and human right in #HongKong", they tweeted.
The decision to remove the app came just a day after China's state-run news outlet, People's Daily, published an article suggesting that Apple was committing "illegal acts" by being "accomplices" to the protesters-people that the propaganda website called "rioters".
The app may be unavailable on the App Store, but iOS users can still access it on web browsers; the app is still up on the Google Play Store, as well.
The dynamic, crowd-sourced app HKmap.live has become popular for helping people to navigate through the tear gas-filled streets in Hong Kong, a former British colony where pro-democracy protests have erupted since June against Beijing's creeping interference.
"Criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement", Apple said.
The Apple CEO said he received "credible information" from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau and users in Hong Kong indicating that the app was being used in such a way.
Apple did not comment beyond its statement.
Google said the app goes against its policy stating app developers can not capitalize "on sensitive events", while Apple said the app "has been used to target and ambush police" and "threaten public safety".More news: Texas Birds Among Those At Risk of Extinction
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"She seems to misunderstand how free speech operates, and also how freedom of the press operates", said Mr Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas and a vocal critic of China who was stopping in Hong Kong for two days as part of a regional tour. "For a company that usually measures umpteen times before cutting anything, it's both sad and startling", wrote John Gruber, one of the best-known Apple commentators, on his blog Daring Fireball.
We built the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for every user.
"We disagree [with Apple's] and [the Hong Kong Police Force]'s claim that HKmap App endanger [s] law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong", the developer tweeted. Earlier this week, we reported that Blizzard banned a Hong Kong Hearthstone player from its professional tournaments and stripped him of his prize money after he shouted a pro-Hong Kong slogan during a livestream.
Separately, Apple removed the Quartz news app from its App Store in China because authorities said it violated local laws.
The developer of H-Kmap-dot-live has said, .
The Trump regime recently blacklisted 28 tech companies in China for their participation in the system of concentration camps that hold an estimated 1 million Uyghur people. The app, titled "The Revolution of Our Times", allows users to role-play as Hong Kong protesters. It then reversed its decision on Friday 4 October, allowing the app into the Apple store after all. A web version was also still viewable on iPhones.
Hong Kong had experienced relative calm since last weekend, when a peaceful march by tens of thousands spiralled into a night of running battles between protesters and police.
"It sounds like they are being responsible".
The company and Cook have been at pains to convey that they had not kowtowed to Beijing, even though the decision was announced a day after Chinese state media criticised the company.