2 Apple suppliers allegedly used Uighur Muslims forced labor in China

2 Apple suppliers allegedly used Uighur Muslim forced labor in China

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China’s population of 1.4 billion makes it a huge potential market for Apple.
Both companies have factories in China.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Two suppliers that make components for Apple in China employ forced labor, according to a report published Sunday. The Washington Post says BOE Technology Group, which supplies screens to Apple, and O-Film, which makes iPhone cameras, both use Uighur labor, either directly or through contractors. Apple lists both companies on its latest supplier list.

The report describes how the Chinese government detained more than 1 million ethnic Uighurs from China’s western Xinjiang region in reeducation camps. And it says evidence indicates that authorities “are moving Uighurs into government-directed labour around the country as part of the central government’s Xinjiang Aid initiative.”

Human rights organizations and U.N. officials have urged China to stop the crackdown on the Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group primarily from Xinjiang.

In many Chinese factories, Uighurs work “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour,” according to an upcoming report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, as cited by the Post. Chinese officials say the country’s “vocational training centers” do not infringe on Uighurs’ human rights.

Forced labor in China

The Australian think tank’s report lists Apple alongside “more than 80 established global brands” benefiting from forced labor among suppliers. The researchers found 27 factories in nine Chinese provinces used Uighur workers hired through labor-transfer programs since 2017. Others big companies named include Nike, Dell and Volkswagen.

In a statement, Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock said: “Apple is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We have not seen this report but we work closely with all our suppliers to ensure our high standards are upheld.”

Apple likely will release its latest Supplier Responsibility Progress Report in the near future. The annual report outlines Cupertino’s efforts to crack down on labor and human rights violations in the workforce.

Source: The Washington Post