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China warns Apple against ‘reckless’ support of HK protesters; Squash Open scrapped

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China‘s state media accused Apple Wednesday of supporting pro-democracy protesters, warning the US tech giant would suffer consequences for its “unwise and reckless” decision, in an echo of campaigns against other Western firms.



An opinion piece in the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, highlighted a transport app available on Apple’s store that it alleged helped protesters identify police in Hong Kong.



“Apple’s approval for the app obviously helps rioters,” the article said.



“Does this mean Apple intended to be an accomplice to the rioters?”



The article then cautioned that: “The map app is just the tip of the iceberg”.



It alleged that a song advocating “Hong Kong independence” had appeared on the “Apple Music Store” in the southern Chinese city, then issued an ominous warning.



“Nobody wants to drag Apple into the lingering unrest in Hong Kong. But people have reason to assume that Apple is mixing business with politics, and even illegal acts,” it said.



“Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision,” the article said.



As with other campaigns led by state-run press against foreign firms for perceived support of the democracy movement in Hong Kong, comments on China‘s strictly controlled internet echoed those of the media.



“It definitely wasn’t an accident that Apple allowed HKmap.live online,” wrote one commentator on Weibo.



“(Apple) should know exactly what it’s doing… It seems that there is too little domestic pressure against Apple.”



Apple, which has a huge presence in China, did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.



Hong Kong has endured nearly four months of protests that were ignited by a now-scrapped plan to allow extraditions of criminal suspects to the mainland.



They snowballed into a movement calling for more democratic freedoms and police accountability, in the biggest challenge to China‘s rule of Hong Kong since its handover from the British in 1997.



China tolerates no dissent on the highly sensitive issue and has in recent weeks increasingly targeted foreign companies and organisations for perceived support of the protesters.



The American National Basketball Association was this week targeted after the general manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, posted a tweet supporting the protesters.



US jewellery brand Tiffany and Hong Kong‘s flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, have also been heavily criticised in China.



Hong Kong Squash Open scrapped over political unrest
Hong Kong (AFP) Oct 9, 2019 -
The Hong Kong Squash Open has become the latest international sports event to be called off because of the unprecedented political unrest gripping the city.



The international hub has been shaken by four months of massive pro-democracy protests which have seen increasingly violent clashes between hardcore demonstrators and the police, as well as regular disruptions to transport.



A string of high-profile entertainment and sports events have been cancelled as a result, and Hong Kong‘s premier squash event, scheduled for December, became the latest casualty on Tuesday.



Hong Kong Squash has decided, after careful consideration and extensive discussions with our key stakeholders, to postpone the 2019 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open… to next year,” organisers said in a statement.



The annual Hong Kong Squash Open is one of the Professional Squash Association’s world tour platinum events. It was last cancelled in 2003 during the SARS outbreak.



The wave of protests in Hong Kong was sparked by opposition to a now-scrapped proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China, but have since morphed into a larger movement for democracy and police accountability.



The city enjoys unique rights under the terms of its handover to China by Britain in 1997, including freedom of expression and an independent judiciary, but many believe these are under threat from an increasingly assertive Beijing.



Street battles between riot police and small groups of protesters — whose vandalism has targeted companies they consider to be pro-Beijing — have become a weekly occurrence, hammering the already struggling economy, spooking tourists and undermining Hong Kong‘s reputation for stability.



The crisis has already forced the cancellation of the WTA Hong Kong Open tennis tournament and the postponement of a football friendly at home against Malaysia.



Several high-profile entertainment events — from pop concerts and stand-up comedy shows to award-winning musicals — have been scrapped as well.



Organisers of the mixed martial arts event HK4 also announced on Wednesday a postponement to March next year, citing safety concerns during the ongoing protests.


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