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Apple removes Taiwan flag emoji in Hong Kong

Apple has hidden an emoji of the Taiwan flag for iPhone users in Hong Kong and Macau.

The technology giant had previously restricted the flag on Chinese iOS devices and the latest move comes amid pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Apple is the latest company targeted for Chinese pressure over protests in Hong Kong after the ruling Communist Party’s main newspaper criticised the tech giant for a smartphone app that allows activists to report police movements.

The People’s Daily said Wednesday the HKmap.live app designed by an outside supplier and available on Apple’s online store “facilitates illegal behaviour”. It questioned if Apple was “guiding Hong Kong thugs”.

Beijing has pressed companies including Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways and the National Basketball Association in the United States to take the government’s side against the protesters.

Hong Kong is in the fourth month of protests that began over a proposed extradition law and have expanded to include other grievances and demands for greater democracy.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

Apple iPhone users can still access the Taiwan flag emoji by typing in the word ‘Taiwan’ and selecting it from the auto-prediction that appears.

One iOS developer has even created a shortcut that can be installed onto devices in order to make the flag appear alongside other world flags in the emoji library.

Additional reporting from agencies

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