iPhone and iPad users who have their device region set to Hong Kong now see one less flag on the emoji keyboard as Apple has removed Taiwan’s flag from the iOS emoji keyboard in its latest iOS 13.1.2 release in Hong Kong, as pointed out by iOS developer Hiraku Wang (via Emojipedia).
The source, however, notes that Apple’s Hong Kong approach towards banning the Taiwan flag emoji differs from the complete ban on the emoji in China.
In China, Apple has replaced the flag of Taiwan with missing character tofu so it cannot be used or displayed in any app, even via copy and paste. But in Hong Kong, this emoji still appears when present in a message or elsewhere and can also be inserted via copy and paste.
This new restriction applies to all iPhones purchased in Hong Kong, as well as international iPhones where the region is set to Hong Kong.
Emojipedia can confirm that this change also affects the built-in emoji picker in macOS 10.15 Catalina. As with iOS, macOS completely bans the Taiwan Flag emoji when the region is set to China, but only hides it from the emoji picker in Hong Kong. Previous releases of macOS had no restriction on this flag for Hong Kong users.
Do you think this half-way step of hiding but not removing the flag of Taiwan in Hong Kong better than banning the emoji altogether?