When Apple launched iOS 13.1.1 in late September, it appears to have removed the Taiwanese flag from the emoji keyboard for users who have their iOS region set to Hong Kong or Macau, as noted by the Hiraku blog and later corroborated by Hong Kong Free Press.
The Taiwanese flag emoji hasn't completely disappeared - apparently, it will still appear on apps and websites, and you can still type it in by typing "Taiwan" in English and selecting it from Apple's next word predictions or by copying it. and sticking.
Regardless, the removal is being treated by pro-Hong Kong activists and supporters as another attempt by mainland China to establish sovereignty over the areas it considers to be under its control. Because of Taiwan's political status, the People's Republic of China considers any mention or allusion to its independence as an offense to its sovereignty.
The change comes amid anti-government protests in Hong Kong that have been underway for months and only continue to intensify when the Chinese government has taken steps to crack down on the movement.
Increased tensions have also had all kinds of negative effects on US companies, as companies afraid of being shown at the door by one of the world's most economically influential countries are bowing to pressure from China to stay away from politically sensitive topics.
The NBA last weekend formally apologized to China for a tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey who expressed support for Hong Kong; China is the NBA's largest foreign market. And video game company Activision Blizzard removed the recording of a professional Hearthstone player calling for Hong Kong's release in a post-game interview.
There is a long history of other companies, from Gap to Daimler, Mercedes-Benz's parent, making public apologies to avoid conflicting with China's strict speech policies and its stance on important topics such as Hong Kong independence. and the political turmoil in Taiwan and Tibet. .
Apple also has a history of appeasing China, considering the size of a Chinese market and the iPhone maker's manufacturing supply chain in the country.
Earlier this year, Apple censored several Hong Kong singers on the Chinese version of Apple Music, and in the past, the company removed VPN applications from the Chinese version of the App Store. He has also hidden this emoji before - since 2017, iPhone users in mainland China can't see or type the Taiwanese flag on their devices, according to Emojipedia.
Source: The Verge