Sunday, May 16, 2021

Apple Suppliers Accused of Using Forced Labor

Wayne Ma:

The industrial park is surrounded by walls and fences with only one way in or out.

And next to the park was a large compound identified by a satellite imagery researcher as a detention center where the factory workers lived. The researcher, Nathan Ruser, from an Australian think tank, said “almost no other factories in Xinjiang have these characteristics except for industrial parks where there is detainee labor.

The Information and human rights groups have found seven companies supplying device components, coatings and assembly services to Apple that are linked to alleged forced labor involving Uyghurs and other oppressed minorities in China. At least five of those companies received thousands of Uyghur and other minority workers at specific factory sites or subsidiaries that did work for Apple, the investigation found.

The revelation stands in contrast to Apple’s assertions over the past year that it hasn’t found evidence of forced labor in its supply chain.

Mike Peterson:

According to The Information, other U.S. and Western companies that work with the seven identified suppliers include Google, Samsung, Amazon, Tesla, Dell, Lenovo, BMW, Cisco, and HP, among others.

Other U.S. companies have taken lobbying action against legislation meant to prevent forced labor in China. Major firms like Coca-Cola, Costco, Patagonia, and Apple were said in November 2020 to be attempting to water down the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.

Apple’s proposed changes to the bill included extending compliance deadlines, making sure some supply chain information is kept from the public, and requiring a U.S. government designation for companies that detain or surveil Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Jack Purcher:

Back last summer Patently Apple posted a report titled “Apple Denies a report that one of their Chinese Suppliers are using Uighur slave labor on Production Lines.” At the time, a BBC investigative report had claimed that corporate giants including Nike and Apple are facing growing calls to cut ties with suppliers alleged to be using “forced labor” from China’s Uighur people. Yet up to last summer, Apple had responded by stating that it had investigated the claims and “found no evidence of any forced labor on Apple production lines” and plan to continue monitoring the issue. Yet months later Apple was forced to deal with the matter and announced that it had cut off China’s OFilm over using slave labor.

See also: Reed Albergotti (via Hacker News).


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[…] even as the company has received criticism for, among other things, having suppliers that use the forced labour of political prisoners. If this system were repurposed for compelled censorship of users in some far-away country, would […]

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