What you need to know
- The Taiwan Flag emoji has been removed from the iOS emoji keyboard for Hong Kong and Macau.
- Users can still access the flag by typing "Taiwan".
- The question of Taiwan's statehood is an extremely sensitive topic in China.
A report via Hong Kong Free Press suggests that Apple has removed the Taiwan Flag from its emoji library in iOS 13.1.1, for users in Hong Kong and Macau. According to their report:
The change was spotted on Twitter, with users in HK and Macau, noticing that after updating iOS to 13.1.1, the flag was no longer available for selection in iOS.
Apple’s region lock of ROC Taiwan flag 🇹🇼 extended beyond CN devices to HK and Macau’s in the iOS/iPadOS 13.1.1 rollout. Interestingly, the new lock only affects the keyboard, and has no problem displaying and is easy to bypass by switching region. https://t.co/RVRKNQyc1l pic.twitter.com/8eQXambiAQApple’s region lock of ROC Taiwan flag 🇹🇼 extended beyond CN devices to HK and Macau’s in the iOS/iPadOS 13.1.1 rollout. Interestingly, the new lock only affects the keyboard, and has no problem displaying and is easy to bypass by switching region. https://t.co/RVRKNQyc1l pic.twitter.com/8eQXambiAQ— 王博源 Wang Boyuan (@thisboyuan) October 3, 2019October 3, 2019
Whilst this may appear to be a non-issue to some, the political status of Taiwan in the region is an extremely sensitive topic. Taiwan has been essentially an independent nation since 1950. However, China has claimed sovereignty over the region since 1949, following the defeat of the Nationalist Government in the Chinese Civil War. As such, China does not recognise Taiwan as an independent country, and refuses to have diplomatic relations with any country that recognises Taiwan as "The Republic of China", rather than a rebellious province of the People's Republic of China.
As noted in the Twitter post, the Taiwan flag is already locked/unavailable in China, and now it seems that this has been extended to users in HK and Macau in iOS 13.1.1. According to a post from Hiraku, any device model which has CN (China) or ZA (Hong Kong) as its region will not have the Taiwan emoji on its keyboard. Any users from another region who changes their region to CN or ZA will see the emoji dissapear.
According to HKFP:
The news comes in the wake of reports that a maps app designed to chart protest/police activity in Hong Kong was initially rejected by Apple, and then subsequently approved.
Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9
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