Coalition demands Apple take more action to defend human rights

Posted:
in General Discussion
A coalition of more than 150 activist groups have penned a letter to Apple urging it to address human rights concerns and to stop "suppressing" criticisms of its current actions.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The group alleges that Apple has failed to adopt the human rights policies that it announced earlier in 2020, and has actively taken steps to suppress human rights critics.

"We are writing in response to Apple's continued failure to protect freedom of information and expression, despite a new policy affirming its commitment to human right," the groups wrote in the letter.

In a news release, the organizations claim that Apple shot down a shareholder proposal raising concerns about human rights across its operations.

"By blocking the shareholder vote, Apple is trying to silence us," said Pema Doma, a member of Students for a Free Tibet. "The company wants to brush Chinese, Uyghur, Tibetan and Hongkonger human rights under the carpet, and continues to bow to the Chinese Communist Party's censorship demands."

Apple's human rights policies have been in the spotlight since reports alleged that the company was benefitting from the forced labor of China's Uighur Muslim minority.

Apple said in July that it found no evidence of human rights violations in a probe of its supply chain. But in December, it cut ties with O-Film, one of the firms accused of using forced labor.

The Cupertino tech giant is said to be lobbying against a bill that would prevent the import of goods into the U.S. unless companies could guarantee they weren't produced with forced labor. Some of its proposed changes include keeping some supply chain information from the public and extending compliance deadlines.

Several sources within Apple also told The Information that the company has been complicit in allowing labor violations to occur in its supply chain.

But the activist coalition's concerns extend beyond allegations of forced labor.

The letter also scrutinizes Apple's decision to pull virtual private networks (VPNs) from the Chinese App Store at the request of the Chinese Communist Party.

It also claims that Apple has been hindering the Hong Kong democracy movement. While other tech giants said they would not comply with Chinese authority data requests, Apple only said it would evaluate the law that would require them to do so.

The coalition of activist groups, which includes organizations represent Tibetan, Uyghur, and Hongkonger people, demands that Apple take "concrete steps towards a positive future."

"Apple must commit to the implementation of fundamental changes to help ensure that the freedoms and safety of Apple users everywhere-- including in Tibet, East Turkistan, Southern Mongolia, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan-- are upheld," the groups wrote.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    I agree Apple should attempt to manufacture, sell and profit in less compromised regions than China, but they’re in too deep now.
    razorpitJWSC
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    You'd think Apple was the only company getting stuff manufactured in China.


    mac_dogJWSCBeats
  • Reply 3 of 17
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,856member
    I agree Apple needs to do all it can but let’s take a look at this;

    Apple said in July that it found no evidence of human rights violations in a probe of its supply chain. But in December, it cut ties with O-Film, one of the firms accused of using forced labor.
    Yes because in July they hadn’t found any evidence. But they kept looking and when it came to light they acted. It’s called being responsible.
    By blocking the shareholder vote, Apple is trying to silence us
    No they are keeping the meeting on topic. These things NEVER pass so there was no point.
    The letter also scrutinizes Apple's decision to pull virtual private networks (VPNs) from the Chinese App Store at the request of the Chinese Communist Party.
    And what were they supposed to do? Refuse, and have the PRC shut them down? That would have accomplished nothing. When you do business in a country, you have to abide by the laws of that country. It would be great if Apple weren’t in China, but that’s not possible right now.
    The Cupertino tech giant is said to be lobbying against a bill that would prevent the import of goods into the U.S. unless companies could guarantee they weren't produced with forced labor.
    The problem is the word GUARANTEE. It has a fixed legal meaning that Apple can’t meet. Hell, I can’t guarantee that the sandwich I bought at the place on the corner wasn’t made with forced labor. Apple can only monitor the vendors they deal with, but vendors of vendors, of suppliers, they simply can’t.
    "Apple must commit to the implementation of fundamental changes to help ensure that the freedoms and safety of Apple users everywhere-- including in Tibet, East Turkistan, Southern Mongolia, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan-- are upheld," the groups wrote
    And just how are they going to do that? they aren’t in control of these areas. They make no policy toward these groups. Literally they cannot move a trashcan without the PRC’s approval. Sure they could get all SJW about it, but that would accomplish nothing and get them kicked out of the country. 

    I sympathise, even agree to a point with these groups, but they’re barking up the wrong tree. 



    ronnSpamSandwichapplguymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 4 of 17
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 1,074member
    Rayz2016 said:
    You'd think Apple was the only company getting stuff manufactured in China.


    Exactly what I was thinking. 
  • Reply 5 of 17
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,788member
    Rayz2016 said:
    You'd think Apple was the only company getting stuff manufactured in China.


    I think the issue is Apple likes to preach about human rights and equality, but it's rather hypocritical in that they keep beating down assembly costs and don't seek serious alternatives to China. The hypocrisy isn't helped by the profit margins Apple has, they could do at least some assembly outside China (and India, which is only that way due to Indian import tariffs) even if it costs a bit more.
    JWSC
  • Reply 6 of 17
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    I agree Apple should attempt to manufacture, sell and profit in less compromised regions than China, but they’re in too deep now.
    If you hold human rights standard as high as you said, you should stop buying Apple products made in China. But you are in too deep now.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member

    elijahg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    You'd think Apple was the only company getting stuff manufactured in China.


    I think the issue is Apple likes to preach about human rights and equality, but it's rather hypocritical in that they keep beating down assembly costs and don't seek serious alternatives to China. The hypocrisy isn't helped by the profit margins Apple has, they could do at least some assembly outside China (and India, which is only that way due to Indian import tariffs) even if it costs a bit more.
    Same comment to you about hypocrisy.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,221member
    How can we get more publicity for our cause and more importantly, ourselves? I know, let’s attack Apple!
    rinse and repeat.
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 9 of 17
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,788member
    tzeshan said:

    elijahg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    You'd think Apple was the only company getting stuff manufactured in China.


    I think the issue is Apple likes to preach about human rights and equality, but it's rather hypocritical in that they keep beating down assembly costs and don't seek serious alternatives to China. The hypocrisy isn't helped by the profit margins Apple has, they could do at least some assembly outside China (and India, which is only that way due to Indian import tariffs) even if it costs a bit more.
    Same comment to you about hypocrisy.
    Please do cite where I preach about human rights and get back to me.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,856member
    elijahg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    You'd think Apple was the only company getting stuff manufactured in China.


    I think the issue is Apple likes to preach about human rights and equality, but it's rather hypocritical in that they keep beating down assembly costs and don't seek serious alternatives to China. The hypocrisy isn't helped by the profit margins Apple has, they could do at least some assembly outside China (and India, which is only that way due to Indian import tariffs) even if it costs a bit more.
    As William Buckley once said “Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality the cost becomes prohibitive.” Apple is doing what it can to help human rights, as well as the environment and other issues. But they can only do so much. They are moving their manufacturing out of China, but that takes times, years and some may never be able to move. But because they are not perfect, today, in your eyes they are hypocrites. Sorry, but your brand of idealism does not help. Indeed in many real ways it makes things worse. 
    edited December 2020 entropys
  • Reply 11 of 17
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    tzeshan said:
    I agree Apple should attempt to manufacture, sell and profit in less compromised regions than China, but they’re in too deep now.
    If you hold human rights standard as high as you said, you should stop buying Apple products made in China. But you are in too deep now.
    He didn't say that.  Stop setting up straw men.
    elijahg
  • Reply 12 of 17
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    tzeshan said:

    elijahg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    You'd think Apple was the only company getting stuff manufactured in China.


    I think the issue is Apple likes to preach about human rights and equality, but it's rather hypocritical in that they keep beating down assembly costs and don't seek serious alternatives to China. The hypocrisy isn't helped by the profit margins Apple has, they could do at least some assembly outside China (and India, which is only that way due to Indian import tariffs) even if it costs a bit more.
    Same comment to you about hypocrisy.
    Same comment to you about straw men.
    elijahg
  • Reply 13 of 17
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,203member
    entropys said:
    How can we get more publicity for our cause and more importantly, ourselves? I know, let’s attack Apple!
    rinse and repeat.
    Absolutely true.

    But since Apple is one of the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the world, one might expect them to act as leader on this subject, which they would like to be seen as in the western world.

    Apple is moving some work out of mainland China, which is one example of exercising their power.  But their continued silence over some very public human rights abuses makes for very poor optics.  Tim Cook has been doing his best to walk the tightrope between perfection in supply chain logistics versus human rights under a repressive regime.  Try as he might, he’s eventually going to be pushed off the high-wire either from external pressure or perhaps even by rank and file Apple employees.  He will be forced to choose on which side Apple falls.
    edited December 2020 elijahg
  • Reply 14 of 17
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    JWSC said:
    entropys said:
    How can we get more publicity for our cause and more importantly, ourselves? I know, let’s attack Apple!
    rinse and repeat.
    Absolutely true.

    But since Apple is one of the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the world, one might expect them to act as leader on this subject, which they would like to be seen as in the western world.

    Apple is moving some work out of mainland China, which is one example of exercising their power.  But their continued silence over some very public human rights abuses makes for very poor optics.  Tim Cook has been doing his best to walk the tightrope between perfection in supply chain logistics versus human rights under a repressive regime.  Try as he might, he’s eventually going to be pushed off the high-wire either from external pressure or perhaps even by rank and file Apple employees.  He will be forced to choose on which side Apple falls.
    Apple is a very successful business. It is not good at politics. If the activists succeed in forcing Apple to satisfy all their demands, this will be downfall of Apple. 
  • Reply 15 of 17
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Rayz2016 said:
    You'd think Apple was the only company getting stuff manufactured in China.



    Always find it funny when iKnockoff morons cite Foxconn to bash Apple not knowing knockoffs are also made there.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    Beats said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    You'd think Apple was the only company getting stuff manufactured in China.
    Always find it funny when iKnockoff morons cite Foxconn to bash Apple not knowing knockoffs are also made there.
    They know, they just don't care, because it's not about China, it's about making Apple look bad.  

    And that's something Apple just has to endure.  They're arguably the biggest player, the most influential and the most visible.  Of course the hundreds of millions of units Apple doing business in China is going to get more attention than the single digit millions of units knockoff.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    DAalseth said:
    elijahg said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    You'd think Apple was the only company getting stuff manufactured in China.


    I think the issue is Apple likes to preach about human rights and equality, but it's rather hypocritical in that they keep beating down assembly costs and don't seek serious alternatives to China. The hypocrisy isn't helped by the profit margins Apple has, they could do at least some assembly outside China (and India, which is only that way due to Indian import tariffs) even if it costs a bit more.
    As William Buckley once said “Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality the cost becomes prohibitive.” Apple is doing what it can to help human rights, as well as the environment and other issues. But they can only do so much. They are moving their manufacturing out of China, but that takes times, years and some may never be able to move. But because they are not perfect, today, in your eyes they are hypocrites. Sorry, but your brand of idealism does not help. Indeed in many real ways it makes things worse. 
    And there is the lingering requirement that Chinese labor must be used in order to sell in China. Apple will never leave the Chinese market unless they are thrown out.
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