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U.S. senator presses Apple on human rights practices in China

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
Apple's business presence in China has come under scrutiny from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who has asked the Cupertino, Calif., company for information on its human rights practices.

Apple is among 30 technology companies targeted by Durbin, who serves as the majority whip of the U.S. Senate on Capitol Hill. Others named by the senator include Facebook and Skype.

Durbin's inquiry follows Google's decision to not comply with censorship laws imposed by the Chinese government.

"Google sets a strong example in standing up to the Chinese government's continued failure to respect the fundamental human rights of free expression and privacy," Durbin said in a statement obtained by Reuters. "I look forward to learning more about whether other American companies are willing to follow Google's lead."

Last month, Apple's presence in China made the news when workers at one of Apple's overseas manufacturing partners in Suzhou, China, went on strike to protest what Wintek employees felt were unsafe working conditions and unfair wages. Workers of the plant destroyed and vandalized some equipment, and 300 riot police were dispatched to the location.

The Wintek dispute was quickly resolved with bonuses paid to employees, and the work stoppage reportedly had no effect on the plant's production. The Wintek factory is a component supplier for Apple's iPhone.

Last year, Apple released its 2009 responsibility progress report, which found that more than half of Apple's partners' factories in China were not properly paying their workers. In addition, 23 of 83 surveyed factories were not even paying some of their employers China's minimum wage.

In 2006, Apple voluntarily conducted its first audit. That survey found most facilities from manufacturer Foxconn to be in compliance.

On the sales side, Apple has made a serious of late push to establish its brand in China. Recently, the company revealed it has sold more than 200,000 iPhones through carrier China Mobile since it debuted late last year.

"We are very, very focused on the quality of the point of sale and consumer experience," Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said on the company's most recent earnings report conference call. "We would prefer to move slow because we are building the brand for the long-term and we are very much focused on the long-term in that market, because we think there is significant potential there."

The company also revealed that Mac sales in China increased nearly 100 percent year over year in the last financial quarter.
post #2 of 76
Didn't read the article, but has anyone checked to see how much Google/Microsoft share this dude owns. The only way government people do anything is if it is financially benificial for them. Sad, but true.
post #3 of 76
this guy is a douche bag.

if he's going to single out apple, he should be singling out every other company that manufactures in china.

he should be dealing with more important matters at home.
post #4 of 76
When will the piece of trash known as Dick Turban going to be interrogated?
post #5 of 76
The majority whip for the Dems... obviously this guy is extremely capable and should be taken seriously.
post #6 of 76
Geez, guys. The article says Apple is among 30 companies Durbin is wanting to find out about. He doesn't seem to be targeting Apple in particular. He's doing his job.
post #7 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by elffir View Post

Geez, guys. The article says Apple is among 30 companies Durbin is wanting to find out about. He doesn't seem to be targeting Apple in particular. He's doing his job.

Thanks for some sanity.

Its interesting when people have knee-jerk reactions against obviously GOOD causes. This cause looks good at first AND second glance, so I dont get it.
post #8 of 76
The article says 30 companies. It's not just Apple. Anyone (which is everyone) that deals with China is dealing in slave labor.

I wish that Apple would go to Detroit (or somewhere in the U.S.), buy some of the many dead manufacturing plants, and move their manufacturing into the United States. They would be heroes and I believe that they could afford it.

In three or four decades, China will be the #1 financial (and likely military) superpower in the world. We need to start somewhere to stop this.
post #9 of 76
Was he seen carrying a Zune or does he use a Blackberry? The possibilities are endless why anyone wwould want to question Apple.
Didn't someone in China commit suicide as well for an early leak of the 3GS?
post #10 of 76
While I do agree that a certain level of decency, respect and fair play should exist everywhere I am appalled by some folks believing that the US has a right to play police force to the world. We are not the Kings or Gods. Our way is not THE way. Particularly when our own country has issues. Let's talk about sweatshops in downtown LA that get away with it because half the employees are illegals that can't gripe or they would be discovered. Let's talk about part time employees not getting health insurance, paid time off etc. We are not perfect and yet we presume to police other countries and cultures.

Let's talk about the tax and other laws these senators and such have passed that make it cheaper to manufacture overseas. How about fighting the issue by improving things so that it is at least a break even to do the work here, keeping the jobs for 'our' citizens.

What is Mr Durbin doing on that front
post #11 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

The article says 30 companies. It's not just Apple. Anyone (which is everyone) that deals with China is dealing in slave labor.

I wish that Apple would go to Detroit (or somewhere in the U.S.), buy some of the many dead manufacturing plants, and move their manufacturing into the United States. They would be heroes and I believe that they could afford it.

In three or four decades, China will be the #1 financial (and likely military) superpower in the world. We need to start somewhere to stop this.

Taxes, Regulations, Wages, Unions -- wanna' pay $1,500 for a politically correct iPad?

*
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
post #12 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post

this guy is a douche bag.

if he's going to single out apple

He's not.
"Apple is among 30 technology companies targeted by Durbin"
Quote:
he should be singling out every other company that manufactures in china.

If you pick more than one, you are not singling out anyone...
post #13 of 76
I feel like Apple is becoming a huge corporation that can not sustain its reputation and image anymore as a "Think Different" community.
Apple had me at scrolling
Reply
Apple had me at scrolling
Reply
post #14 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

While I do agree that a certain level of decency, respect and fair play should exist everywhere I am appalled by some folks believing that the US has a right to play police force to the world. We are not the Kings or Gods. Our way is not THE way. Particularly when our own country has issues. Let's talk about sweatshops in downtown LA that get away with it because half the employees are illegals that can't gripe or they would be discovered. Let's talk about part time employees not getting health insurance, paid time off etc. We are not perfect and yet we presume to police other countries and cultures.

Let's talk about the tax and other laws these senators and such have passed that make it cheaper to manufacture overseas. How about fighting the issue by improving things so that it is at least a break even to do the work here, keeping the jobs for 'our' citizens.

What is Mr Durbin doing on that front

We can talk about all those things and also talk about whether American companies are exploiting workers in countries where their own government isn't willing or able to protect them.
post #15 of 76
What a Dick!

Ha! First!
post #16 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post

this guy is a douche bag.

if he's going to single out apple, he should be singling out every other company that manufactures in china.

he should be dealing with more important matters at home.

I agree. Also, since when has our own government stood up to China, huh???
post #17 of 76
Apple ought to send U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin a request for information on the human rights practices of the US Government. Lots of shady practices being covered up by Congress.
post #18 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Taxes, Regulations, Wages, Unions -- wanna' pay $1,500 for a politically correct iPad?

*

The labor cost to manufacture in Asia has risen 20% in the last three years. This is not going to stop. It's a myth that goods would cost that much more if made here (spread by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other pro-corporate entities). Adding 8 to 10% to the cost of an iPad's manufacturing is more accurate. Which would make the price rise maybe fifty bucks.

Yes, I would pay fifty dollars more to employ Americans and keep cash away from an oppressive communist country.
post #19 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Taxes, Regulations, Wages, Unions -- wanna' pay $1,500 for a politically correct iPad?

If it costs 1500 to produce an iPad where none of the workers are walked all over, have the same rights and benefits as you do and are paid a decent living wage for the work that they carry out, then maybe we should. I'm not saying this is the case here but you seem to implying it would be OK as long as you get your cheap iPad. Everybody likes low prices but if they come at someone else's expense its not right, is it? Turn the tables for a minute and argue the case from that vantage point.
post #20 of 76
First of all I think the significance of this message lies in the fact that Dick Durbin is not just any Senator. He has the second highest position of the democratic leadership in the senate. This is not some random act, but might signify that there is political momentum behind this. Let's see where this goes.

I would feel so much better about buying Apple products if they were not made in China! I am happy that they are now environmentally conscious and I think Greenpeace did a great job at pushing Apple in the right direction. The next step is producing products in a way and in a place that is in alignment with our values.

I love Apple products and I have bought far too many of them without hesitation in the past. These days I am starting to feel different about this and the reason is that I don't want so much of my money going to China.

My question to you: How do you feel about this and could this become a big movement?
post #21 of 76
Durbin comes from a state with a l-o-n-g line of crooked mayors, governors, senators, congressman, et.al. I wouldn't buy a sealed pack of gum from this guy, much less take anything he said seriously.
post #22 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltonrrwatch View Post

Durbin comes from a state with a l-o-n-g line of crooked mayors, govenors, senators, congressman, et.al. I wouldn't buy a sealed pack of gum from this guy, much less take anything he said seriously.

Hey- our president hails from that machine. You don't mean to think.......?
post #23 of 76
Doesn't the US Senate have enough to do that it doesn't need to investigate how the Chinese run their factories? What part of American law applies to China?
post #24 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEKSTUD View Post

Hey- our president hails from that machine. You don't mean to think.......?

I'm not 'sayin, I'm just..'sayin
post #25 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

If it costs 1500 to produce an iPad where none of the workers are walked all over, have the same rights and benefits as you do and are paid a decent living wage for the work that they carry out, then maybe we should. I'm not saying this is the case here but you seem to implying it would be OK as long as you get your cheap iPad. Everybody likes low prices but if they come at someone else's expense its not right, is it? Turn the tables for a minute and argue the case from that vantage point.

On the contrary, I am looking at it from several perspectives:

What' Good for the USA

Our government (both reps and dems) is anti business (Taxes, Regulations, Wages, Unions) which forces manufacturing and jobs overseas. What good is a minimum (or good living) wage if you are out of a job? Given the choice, I'd take:

a job and pay for my own health care

versus

no job, unemployment insurance and free health care.


[aside: I got my 1st full-time job at age 15. I worked in toys, electronics, aerospace, mainframe computers. With 2 partners, I opened computer stores in Silicon Valley in 1978. I sold my interest in 1989, and retired at age 50. During those 35 years, I never received minimum wage, never received government loans or grants, never received unemployment, never was on sabbatical or unpaid leave. I have seen the US economy in good times and bad times. IMO, we are on the cusp of becoming a welfare state where most citizens are on the public weal.]



What' Good for AAPL and its shareholders

Apple would be doing a disservice to itself and its shareholders if it did not avail itself of lowest cost and highest quality manufacturing. This does not mean APPL should ignore human rights issues or politics. But, to have any influence on these, Apple has to:

1) stay in business (free enterprise & profit motive)
2) be of sufficient size (economic leverage) to exert pressure to correct the issues

How much influence do you think Apple would have over China if Apple moved all its manufacturing to: India, South Korea or Mexico?


What' Good for Apple Consumers

As a consumer I want the choice among several solutions-- trading off features/function, ease of use, quality, price, etc. To artificially inflate Apple prices to satisfy some misguided, unilateral, politically correct ideology is to ignore the reality of free markets, supply and demand, and life, in general!


In order for Apple to set the standard (in all of the above), they must be a player in the game... it cannot be done by sitting on the sidelines,

*
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
post #26 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Durbin's inquiry follows Google's decision to not comply with censorship laws imposed by the Chinese government.

"Google sets a strong example in standing up to the Chinese government's continued failure to respect the fundamental human rights of free expression and privacy," Durbin said in a statement obtained by Reuters. "I look forward to learning more about whether other American companies are willing to follow Google's lead."

What nonsense: see this article from the Financial Times, http://chinaview.wordpress.com/2008/...ese-dissident/

It's fine with me that Google is threatening to leave, but let's not make sound like it's some Mother Teresa-type move. It probably made sense for them from a business standpoint, and so they did. Nothing wrong with that, but to wrap oneself with the flag of 'freedom expression' and such could be pushing it a bit far.
post #27 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltonrrwatch View Post

Durbin comes from a state with a l-o-n-g line of crooked mayors, govenors, senators, congressman, et.al. I wouldn't buy a sealed pack of gum from this guy, much less take anything he said seriously.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TEKSTUD View Post

Hey- our president hails from that machine. You don't mean to think.......?

When I lived in Illinois (1968-71):

1) The Governor was under indictment
2) The State Supreme Court could not reach a quorum because more than 50% of the Justices were in priison
3) The Secretary of State died in office after 42 years of public service, starting with no personal fortune, never earning more than $30,000 year. He left an estate worth more than $2 million-- more than $800,000 in bills packed into shoeboxes.

Ahhh.... doing well, by doing good!

*
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
"...The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore, For ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
- Michael Lille -
Reply
post #28 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

What nonsense: see this article from the Financial Times, http://chinaview.wordpress.com/2008/...ese-dissident/

It's fine with me that Google is threatening to leave, but let's not make sound like it's some Mother Teresa-type move. It probably made sense for them from a business standpoint, and so they did. Nothing wrong with that, but to wrap oneself with the flag of 'freedom expression' and such could be pushing it a bit far.

Great point - thanks! That is true for Google's motivation.
However, individuals do value acting in accordance with their values.
post #29 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's business presence in China has come under scrutiny from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who has asked the Cupertino, Calif., company for information on its human rights practices.

Apple is among 30 technology companies targeted by Durbin, who serves as the majority whip of the U.S. Senate on Capitol Hill. Others named by the senator include Facebook and Skype.

Durbin's inquiry follows Google's decision to not comply with censorship laws imposed by the Chinese government.

"Google sets a strong example in standing up to the Chinese government's continued failure to respect the fundamental human rights of free expression and privacy," Durbin said in a statement obtained by Reuters. "I look forward to learning more about whether other American companies are willing to follow Google's lead."

Last month, Apple's presence in China made the news when workers at one of Apple's overseas manufacturing partners in Suzhou, China, went on strike to protest what Wintek employees felt were unsafe working conditions and unfair wages. Workers of the plant destroyed and vandalized some equipment, and 300 riot police were dispatched to the location.

The Wintek dispute was quickly resolved with bonuses paid to employees, and the work stoppage reportedly had no effect on the plant's production. The Wintek factory is a component supplier for Apple's iPhone.

Last year, Apple released its 2009 responsibility progress report, which found that more than half of Apple's partners' factories in China were not properly paying their workers. In addition, 23 of 83 surveyed factories were not even paying some of their employers China's minimum wage.

In 2006, Apple voluntarily conducted its first audit. That survey found most facilities from manufacturer Foxconn to be in compliance.

On the sales side, Apple has made a serious of late push to establish its brand in China. Recently, the company revealed it has sold more than 200,000 iPhones through carrier China Mobile since it debuted late last year.

"We are very, very focused on the quality of the point of sale and consumer experience," Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said on the company's most recent earnings report conference call. "We would prefer to move slow because we are building the brand for the long-term and we are very much focused on the long-term in that market, because we think there is significant potential there."

The company also revealed that Mac sales in China increased nearly 100 percent year over year in the last financial quarter.

Would prefer to see the good Seantor from Illinois placing his efforts on Health care, green energy and economy. Otherwords, stay out of other country's business.
post #30 of 76
I totally agree. For too long we've been spoiled by artificially 'subsidized'( from cheap labor) products from nations where labor is cheap and disposable. U.S. corporations have been quick to close factories & lay off workers in the U.S. while squealing from on-high is that it's 'helped our growth'. It's only the corporate stockholders & broker who've enjoyed growth.

All should be concerned since the SCOTUS recently decreed that Corporations are equivalent to persons in their "right' of 'free speech' in the use of unlimited corporate funds to pay for candidates and initiatives.

Guess which candidate's are gonna get all the cash?
post #31 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by gt1948 View Post

Would prefer to see the good Seantor from Illinois placing his efforts on Health care, green energy and economy. Otherwords, stay out of other country's business.

I understand your desire for action and let's hope that these issues will get a major push soon!!!

But, issues that effect us can not be separated as easy as drawing a line in the sand. Your actions have consequences that ripple across the world. Nobody can ignore that. The issue here is what Apple - a US company - is doing in China. That is US business!
post #32 of 76
but wait... the people's republic of china is still a communist, socialist state.

therefore, all workers are happy individuals in a land of bliss and harmony.
from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

so what's durbin's problem?
>>< drow ><<
Reply
>>< drow ><<
Reply
post #33 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonkin View Post

For too long we've been spoiled by artificially 'subsidized'( from cheap labor) products from nations where labor is cheap and disposable.

'Artificially' subsidized from 'cheap labor'? The scarce suppliers of labor in otherwise abundantly wealthy countries such as India and China would love for nothing more that for you to take up the cudgels on their behalf!

[end sarcasm]
post #34 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by drow View Post

but wait... the people's republic of china is still a communist, socialist state.

therefore, all workers are happy individuals in a land of bliss and harmony.
from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

so what's durbin's problem?

China may be communist, but I am not sure it would qualify for 'socialist.'
post #35 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by gt1948 View Post

Would prefer to see the good Seantor from Illinois placing his efforts on Health care, green energy and economy. Otherwords, stay out of other country's business.


Isn't trade between US and China, a US interest? Doesn't it affect the US economy? In other words it is the US's business.

Just as it's Canada's business that cheap lead painted (or chromium) toys made in China are kept out of Canada.

Both of our countries have to keep China in check or they'll get away with things they shouldn't.
post #36 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I got my 1st full-time job at age 15. I worked in toys, electronics, aerospace, mainframe computers. With 2 partners, I opened computer stores in Silicon Valley in 1978. I sold my interest in 1989, and retired at age 50. During those 35 years, I never received minimum wage, never received government loans or grants, never received unemployment, never was on sabbatical or unpaid leave. I have seen the US economy in good times and bad times. IMO, we are on the cusp of becoming a welfare state where most citizens are on the public weal.

Well, bully for you. You are both resourceful and successful and I am sure you are just in your pride of your achievements. Your views are clearly shaped by your experiences but not everybody is as fortunate as you in the sense that not everybody (I'd say very few) have the confidence and wherewithal to do what you have done. I think maybe your world view could do with a sprinkling of compassion, but we clearly look at the world from completely different perspectives and will probably never agree, so lets just leave it at that.

From an ideological pov however, it is rather depressing that we would rather see people suffer the indignities of poverty and worse in order to have a better life for ourselves. You may rationalize it but the fact remains that we knowingly turn a blind eye to huge social and economical injustices. It has happened before by another name.
post #37 of 76
Durbin is more worried about other countries (China) than he is the state he is supposed to represent -- ILLINOIS.

Tired of politicians who have misplaced focus. Durbin should instead worry about restoring liberty to Americans & Illinoisans, and let the Communists represent their own people.
post #38 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

From an ideological pov however, it is rather depressing that we would rather see people suffer the indignities of poverty and worse in order to have a better life for ourselves. You may rationalize it but the fact remains that we knowingly turn a blind eye to huge social and economical injustices. It has happened before by another name.

We have a choice - every moment. We can change that. What's stopping us?
That's why I think we can only encourage this kind of move by politicians and follow along.
Doesn't matter what you otherwise think about this gentleman.
Let's change our choice - Let's change Apple - let's make a difference!
post #39 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

U.S. Sen. [...] its human rights practices. [...]

Perhaps Apple should press the Senate on its endless wars, international abduction for torture and non-publicly passed bills to support middle-east dictatorships against the will of their own people.

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply

Many of the most important software concepts were invented in the 70s and forgotten in the 80s.

Reply
post #40 of 76
This is disturbing.

I can't believe these apple fanatics are actually defending near slavery in China.

People in China can't afford expensive Macs so they're sub-human? You can hate the government all you want but the people living there just want to make a living. Your $1000 Mac can feed a family for months and months.

Apple (among other companies) are barely even paying minimum wage to workers in China so this senator is criticizing them. What's the problem? Oh, can't hurt precious Apple's profit margins now. It's a sin to criticize Apple because Steve Jobs is GOD and Apple is Eden. Those sub-human Chinese workers are better off being enslaved, paying them just cuts into Apple's profits.
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