China warns Apple against ‘reckless’ support of HK protesters

“Apple has to think about the consequences of its unwise and reckless decision,” a Chinese opinion piece said. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 October 2019

China warns Apple against ‘reckless’ support of HK protesters

  • China tolerates no dissent on the highly sensitive issue and has increasingly targeted foreign companies
  • Hong Kong has endured nearly four months of protests triggered by a now-scraped extradition bill

BEIJING: 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 organizations 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 jewelry brand Tiffany and Hong Kong’s flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific, have also been heavily criticized in China.


Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

Updated 3 min 56 sec ago

Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

  • Dubai prepares for eye-catching countdown on Burj Khalifa
  • Live performances from singer Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 ambassador Hussain Al-Jassmi

DUBAI: Crowds gathered at different locations in the UAE on Sunday night to mark its one-year countdown to Expo 2020 in October next year, with host emirates Dubai staging a spectacular concert, topped by a light projection on the iconic Burj Khalifa.

American superstar Mariah Carey was the star of the night, which also saw performances from regional artists including Khalifa, Shamma Hamdan, Abri and Funk Radius, Showcase and Jaysus Zain. The audience also grooved to a few Arabic tunes from Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi.

A make-shift stage was set up at the Burj Park in Dubai’s downtown area to host the performances, while people also enjoyed a good view of the tallest building in the world. The countdown was facilitated by Emirati social media sensation Khalid Al-Ameri and Bollywood actress Shraddah Kapoor. 

A 3-minute firework display lit up the skies of Dubai as the crowd eagerly waited for Carey to appear on stage.

The 49-year-old singer sang her all-time favorite songs, including “Emotion,” “We Belong Together,” and a revival of the Motown classic “I’ll Be There,” to an enthusiastic audience who didn’t mind the heat and humidity at the outdoor venue.

The other six emirates also marked the occasion with free-for-all activities in venues such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

The events, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Director-General Reem Al-Hashimy said, will “offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from October 20, 2020.”

“The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo,” she added, in a report by state-run WAM.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi featured YouTube sensation Sandra Sahi, as well as singers Stephon Lemar, Layla Kardan, the Emirati Trio.

Indian band ROOH, singer and pianist Clarita de Quiroz, Egyptian oud player Rami Zaki and other regional artists were celebrating the count down at Sharjah’s Al Marjaz waterfront.

While the Ajman Museum hosted Arabic fusion band, pop-rock musician Hydyy, Emirati soul singer Chakram, poet Storm Fernandes, artist Humaira Hussain and MC Mohammed Enaba.

The 6-month Expo 2020, to be held at a vast new site in the south of Dubai, will officially open on Oct. 20 next year, with organizers expecting an estimate of 25 million visitors.