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US lawmakers urge Apple to reinstate HKMap application used in Hong Kong



WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan group of seven U.S. lawmakers, including Senators Ted Cruz, Ron Widen and Marco Rubio, and Representative Alexandria Okasio-Cortez on Friday called Apple Inc. ( AAPL.O ) Chief director Tim Cook to restore the HKMap application used in Hong Kong.

FILE PHOTOS: The HKmap.live application is depicted on the phone screen in this photo illustration, in Hong Kong, China, October 10, 2019. they follow the movement of police, saying it was used to direct officers.

Apple declined comment.

The group wrote separately to CEO of Activision Blizzard Inc ( ATVI.O ) calling on Robert Kotik to overturn the company's decision to ban a player who voiced support for protests in Hong Kong. Activision Blizzard did not comment immediately on Friday.

"You said publicly that you want to work with Chinese leaders to bring about change, not sit on the sidelines and shout at them. We also believe that diplomacy and trade can be democratizing forces. But when the repressive government refuses to develop, or indeed when it doubles, cooperation can become complicity, ”Cook members wrote.

Apple said on October 9 that it had launched an immediate investigation after "many concerned customers in Hong Kong" contacted it about the app and the company found that it threatened law enforcement and residents.

It said the HKMap app "was used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals used it to sacrifice residents in areas where they knew there was no law enforcement." Critics said Apple acted after pressure from Beijing in a comment in the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

According to lawmakers, Apple has censured at least 2,200 applications in China, citing nonprofit GreatFire.

Apple's action came amid a furor over the US National Basketball Association after an official team tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests, prompting Chinese sponsors and partners to sever ties with the NBA.

Last week, Blizzard reduced the punishment handed to Chung Ng Wai, a Hong Kong-based Hearthstone gaming gamer, for his public support of a protest against democracy after his decision sparked controversy among players and the public.

Blizzard Entertainment, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, initially said it would suspend a player from racing for a year and deprive him of prize money.

Report by David Shepherson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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