As if accumulating sandbags before the flood, Apple was well prepared to counteract its decision to remove an application used by protesters in Hong Kong.
But the firm statement of the company, which offered its reasoning, left China's observers, politicians ̵
"Apple's decision to take advantage of Communist China's demands is unacceptable," tweeted Rick Scott, a Republican senator for Florida.
"Putting profits above human rights and the dignity of Hong Kong people is wrong. Not at all if for that. "
Late on Wednesday, the company began briefing reporters on the move, stating that HKmap.live was" being used in ways that threaten law enforcement and residents. " On Thursday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook posted an email in his employees' inbox.
"From my great respect for the work you do every day, I want to share how we made that decision," he writes.
"Over the last few days, we have received credible information from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau and from users in Hong Kong that the application is being used maliciously to target individual abusers and to sacrifice non-police personnel and property .This use puts the application in violation of Hong Kong law.
"Likewise, widespread abuse clearly violates our App Store guidelines prohibiting personal injury."
Apple's John Gruber writes about Mr. Cook's email: "I can't remember an Apple note or a statement falling apart so quickly under control."
Apple has not yet provided any Additional Information on Incidents Reported Charles Mock, a Hong Kong lawmaker representing the territory's IT industry, posted a letter to Mr Cook on Twitter
"There are many cases of innocent bystanders in the neighborhood injured by excessive police force in the Congo in crowdfunding operations," he writes.
"Consumer-generated information shared through HKmap.live actually helps citizens avoid areas where pedestrians who are not involved in any criminal activity can be subjected to police brutality, which has been observed by many organizations for human rights protection such as Amnesty International. "
Mr Mock continued to argue that users on large social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, also shared information about police activity but were not held to the same standard.
] "We, Hong Kong , we will definitely look carefully at whether Apple chooses to support its commitment to free expression and other fundamental human rights, or to become complicit in Chinese censorship and oppression. "
Apple did not respond to the letter.
Censored South Park  Apple's decision is against the backdrop of big US companies being seen as political pressure from Beijing.
Only in the past week did the NBA make its way around a tweet from a protest support team leader while video games published by Activision Blizzard banned stezatelya Electronic Sports Ng Wai "Blitzchung" Chung to show his support for the movement.
And Google removed a role-playing game called "The Revolution of Our Time" from its app store after it believed it had broken its rules for displaying "sensitive events" (the player plays the role of a Hong Kong protestor). According to the Wall Street Journal, Hong Kong authorities have contacted Google with concerns about the app – though the company said it had decided to take action before any communication took place.
However, one deviation of the trend came through Tim Sweeney
"Epic supports everyone's right to speak freely," wrote on Twitter in response to a question about gamers expressing support for Hong Kong protesters. Chinese tech giant Tencent owns 40% of the company.
"Fortnite Chinese players are free to criticize the United States or to criticize Epic just as much as everyone else," said Mr. Sweeney.
In a typically astute moment, an episode of Comedy Central South Park earlier this month led Chinese censors to "delete almost every clip, episode and online discussion of the show from Chinese streaming services, social media and even fan pages," according to the Hollywood reporter.
The episode features four of the show's main characters working on a movie script that is constantly changing to be distributed in China.
"Do you know what they say," says the show's movie director, "You have to lower your ideals of freedom if you want to suck up China's warm pacifier."
In the Apple Case this means that revenue is on track to exceed $ 40 billion this year – nearly one-fifth of the company's total sales. Apple's reliance on Chinese manufacturing means that the connection goes far beyond just local sales. The company has 10,000 direct employees in the company; Apple's economy in China is responsible for about 5 million jobs.
What happens next depends on the extent to which China believes its firm position works – and there are signs that employees are becoming cautious. According to reports in the New York Times, Beijing is concerned that its actions are paying more attention to the protests and damaging the country's situation on the world stage, adding even more strain to relations with the US after trade talks resume in Washington.
The row also heightened concerns that China has little sense when it comes to making demands on companies both domiciled in the Communist state and those who simply want to do business there.
“What would Huawei do if they were the dominant provider of 5G for a country and the leaders of that country said something wrong? ” speculates with Elliott Zagman covering Chinese business and investment,
Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC
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