As countries, it’s fair to say that China and Taiwan aren’t exactly BFFs. For evidence of this, look no further than the recently released macOS 10.14.4. Eagle-eyed users in China have noticed that their Mac devices can no longer display the Taiwan flag emoji.
The flag ban can’t even be circumvented by changing the region in your Mac’s System Preferences.
Macs bought in China can no longer display the ?? Taiwan Flag Emoji, no matter which region is set in System Prefs https://t.co/nTJqBiYCvB
— Jeremy Burge ?? (@jeremyburge) March 27, 2019
Not the first time
Blocking the Taiwanese flag isn’t something new for Apple software. Dating back to the start of 2017, iOS banished the Taiwanese flag emoji whenever the handset’s location is set to China. Changing the country to one other than China would restore it. Messages which were sent featuring the emoji in China included only a blank space. This even led to an iPhone-crashing bug due to a coding error.
The decision was made in response to Chinese rules for tech companies to follow, some of which related to its refusal to accept Taiwan as an independent country. This isn’t the first time that Apple has acquiesced to China’s demands — although Tim Cook has been obliquely critical of Chinese censorship in the past.
Other China-mandated demands have included Apple switching iCloud accounts registered in China to state-run Chinese servers. The company has also banned Skype and several other voice over internet protocol apps from the App Store in China because they do not comply with local law.