The Corner

World

Apple Supplier Charged with Exploiting Uyghur Forced Labor

A Chinese flag behind razor wire at a detention facility for Uyghurs in Yengisar County, Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang (Greg Baker/Contributor/Getty Images)

We hear a lot about “reckonings” these days. But surely something has to be done about the atrocious human-rights abuses in China that appear to include slave/forced labor for the benefit of American companies such as Apple.

We have heard these stories before, and now another report is out from the Tech Transparency Project. From the Washington Post story:

One of the oldest and most well-known iPhone suppliers has been accused of using forced Muslim labor in its factories, according to documents uncovered by a human rights group, adding new scrutiny to Apple’s human rights record in China.

The documents, discovered by the Tech Transparency Project and shared exclusively with The Washington Post, detail how thousands of Uighur workers from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang were sent to work for Lens Technology. Lens also supplies Amazon and Tesla, according to its annual report.

Apple says it confirmed that no such thing is happening. How and to what extent? By calling President Xi?

Legislation passed the House and is pending in the Senate to deal generally with China’s human-rights abuses — which I wrote about here — and the apparent complicity of American companies. But Big Tech is pouring lobbyists into the breach:

Apple, among other companies, has dispatched lobbyists to Capitol Hill in an effort to water down legislation that would hold U.S. companies accountable for using forced labor from the region. [Tech Transparency Project director Katie] Paul said the alleged use of forced labor in Apple’s supply chain “may explain why the company is lobbying against a bill now before Congress that would sanction companies for their involvement in human rights abuses in China.”

I have written before that the private sector has more power to ameliorate these crimes than governments. Frankly, industry should pull out of China altogether. After all, companies railed against “bathroom bills” that required people to use the public facilities of their biological sex and threatened boycotts and such. Are we to believe they don’t care about China’s true human-rights crimes such as harvesting political prisoner Falun Gong organs for profit?

If companies pulled up stakes, it would send one hell of a message that slavery is evil and will not be tolerated, even in the name of maximizing Silicon Valley and NBA profits. Alas, I am not holding my breath.