Pro-democ­ra­cy pro­test­ers in Hong Kong rest at the entrance to an Apple store dur­ing clash­es in July.

Miguel Candela/Getty Images

Apple told cre­ators of some of the orig­i­nal shows for its Apple TV Plus ser­vice to avoid por­tray­ing Chi­na neg­a­tive­ly, says a report. The news comes as Apple faces crit­i­cism for remov­ing an app used by Hong Kong pro­test­ers from its App Store. It also comes amid anger at per­ceived efforts by US busi­ness­es to main­tain access to one of the globe’s biggest mar­kets by play­ing along with Chi­na’s Com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment.

Ear­ly last year, Apple’s head of inter­na­tion­al con­tent devel­op­ment, Mor­gan Wan­dell, and its SVP of inter­net soft­ware and ser­vices, Eddy Cue, gave the Chi­na-relat­ed guid­ance to some show devel­op­ers, Buz­zFeed News report­ed late Fri­day, cit­ing unnamed sources. Buz­zFeed said the move was part of Apple’s con­tin­u­ing efforts to remain on the Chi­nese gov­ern­men­t’s good side, after iTunes Movies and the iBooks Store were shut­tered in Chi­na six months after their 2016 debut there.

Apple declined to com­ment on the Buz­zFeed report.

Ear­li­er this week, Apple removed an app called HKmap.live from the App Store, a day after Peo­ple’s Dai­ly, the lead news­pa­per of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty, crit­i­cized the com­pa­ny for aid­ing Hong Kong “riot­ers” and “let­ting poi­so­nous soft­ware have its way.” The map­ping app pulls info from news streams, Face­book and Telegram to show the loca­tion of police, tear gas and pro­test­ers in Hong Kong.

Fol­low­ing pub­lic out­cry, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to his employ­ees defend­ing the deci­sion. Cook said Apple received infor­ma­tion from users in Hong Kong and from the Hong Kong Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Tech­nol­o­gy Crime Bureau that the app was being used to tar­get indi­vid­ual offi­cers and “vic­tim­ize indi­vid­u­als and prop­er­ty where no police are present.”

The app’s devel­op­ers said there’s no evi­dence to sup­port those claims, and oth­ers, includ­ing not­ed Apple blog­ger John Gru­ber, expressed skep­ti­cism that the app was being used as Cook described.

Chi­na is Apple’s third largest mar­ket for sales, and the com­pa­ny assem­bles most of its prod­ucts there.

Oth­er US busi­ness­es are feel­ing the heat in regard to Chi­na. This week gam­ing com­pa­ny Bliz­zard caused an uproar when it can­celed a pro gamer’s prize win­nings and banned him from com­pe­ti­tions after he expressed sup­port for the Hong Kong protests. Among oth­er crit­ics, Ore­gon Sen. Ron Wyden tweet­ed that “No Amer­i­can com­pa­ny should cen­sor calls for free­dom to make a quick buck.” Bliz­zard says its deci­sion had noth­ing to do with Chi­na.

And the NBA is also tan­gled up in a con­tro­ver­sy with Chi­na. Ear­li­er this month, Hous­ton Rock­ets Gen­er­al Man­ag­er Daryl Morey tweet­ed sup­port for the protests in Hong Kong. Chi­nese offi­cials crit­i­cized the tweet and some spon­sors report­ed­ly cut ties with the team and with the NBA as a whole. Morey delet­ed the tweet and apol­o­gized for his com­ments, and the NBA has been try­ing to smooth things over.

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