The ongoing Kong Kong protests have come into sharper focus for many this week, following Blizzard’s ill-advised move to ban a Grandmaster for voicing his opinion on the subject. Now a another tech-related aspect to the protests has surfaced after Quartz has reported that its news app has been removed from Chinese Apple App Store.
The news platform informed The Verge that its app was removed by Apple following criticism and pressure from the Chinese government, with the reporting coming out of the city casting the government in a less than flattering light.
Quartz adds that its website has also been banned in mainland China, with the organisation explaining that it received notification from the Chinese government that its app, “includes content that it illegal in China.”
As for what could be deemed illegal, it looks like the app’s stories around VPNs as a means to circumvent any restrictions on internet access is the main issue that the government is citing.
“We abhor this kind of government censorship of the internet, and have great coverage of how to get around such bans around the world,” noted Quartz CEO Zack Seward in a statement to The Verge.
What is perhaps most concerning during this latest development is Apple’s involvement in pulling the Quartz app from its Chinese marketplace. While we understand that Apple has many business interests in China, specifically the manufacturing of its devices and hardware, bowing to the government’s pressure does little to win the confidence of consumers.
This isn’t the first time that Apple has bent the knee though, with The Verge pointing out that the firm removed the Taiwan flag emoji from iOS 13 so users in Hong Kong and Macau would not be able to access it.
At this stage there has not been the same outcry over Apple’s actions as there has been with Blizzard’s, but we’re hoping that more tech and gaming companies will take a stronger stance when the Chinese government tries to influence how events are unfolding in Hong Kong.