Apple's Tim Cook urged by lawmakers to 'reverse course' on China, Hong Kong

A bipartisan group of US Congress members calls Apple's removal of the HKmap.live app "deeply concerning."

Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Shelby Brown
2 min read

In a Friday letter to Apple CEO  Tim Cook , a bipartisan group of US Congress members criticized the tech giant's decision to remove HKmap.live, an app used by protesters in Hong Kong, from the App Store.

"Apple's decision last week to accommodate the Chinese government by taking down HKMaps is deeply concerning," reads the letter. "We urge you in the strongest terms to reverse course, to demonstrate that Apple puts values above market access, and to stand with the brave men and women fighting for basic rights and dignity in Hong Kong."

The letter is signed by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, along with Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida. They're joined by Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Democratic Reps. Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

The letter follows the app's removal and Cook's meeting with China's market regulator in Beijing on Thursday, according to a report from Reuters.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple removed HKmap.live, a mapping app that crowdsources the location of police and protesters in Hong Kong, from the App Store, saying it violated the store's guidelines and local laws. HKmap tweeted last Thursday that it disagreed with Apple's claim that the app endangered law enforcement and Hong Kong residents. 

The protests, which have been going on since March 2019, were initially focused on legislation that would've allowed people arrested in Hong Kong to be transferred to and tried in mainland China. The extradition bill has since been withdrawn, but demonstrations have expanded to include other grievances and demands for greater democracy.

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