China’s Sway Over Tech Companies Tested with Apple, Blizzard
US tech firms Apple and Blizzard are both facing criticism for seemingly bowing down to China in separate incidents related to the ongoing mass anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
Earlier this week, Chinese state media accused Apple of protecting “rioters” in Hong Kong by hosting an app called HKmap.live on its official App Store. The app shows the locations of police officers as well as protesters in the semi-autonomous city, based on reports by locals. Protesters use the app in order to avoid riot police. In response to Beijing’s criticism, Apple removed the app this week, less than a week after it went live. The company claimed to have “learned” that HKmap.live “has been used in ways that endanger law enforcement and residents in Hong Kong.”
Meanwhile, game developer Blizzard Entertainment is under fire for banning a Hearthstone player after the gamer called for revolution in Hong Kong during an eSports tournament. Blizzard said that political speech was not allowed in the tournament.