US lawmaker demands Apple's Tim Cook respond to Uyghur forced labor claims

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 12
Apple CEO Tim Cook is in the crosshairs of at least one U.S. lawmaker over a recent report claiming Chinese firms in the tech giant's supply chain exploit Uyghur labor.

Cook at Luxshare


An explosive report from The Information on Monday exposed potential ties between Apple suppliers and forced labor programs suspected of being part of an alleged Chinese genocide against Uyghurs.

An investigation conducted by human rights groups appears to reveal evidence against seven Chinese firms -- Advanced-Connectek, Luxshare Precision Industry, Shenzhen Deren Electronic Co., Avary Holding, AcBel Polytech, CN Innovations, and Suzhou Dongshan Precision Manufacturing Co. -- each of which provides parts and services to Apple.

Notably, Cook has touted the operations of Lens, O-Film, and Luxshare, the latter of which he personally visited in a 2017 trip to China.

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., in a letter to Cook on Tuesday expressed "deep concern" over the report. Buck invoked Cook's statements from a House Judiciary Committee hearing in July 2020, when the executive called forced labor "abhorrent" and something Apple "would not tolerate." At the time, Apple supplier O-Film was under scrutiny for alleged human right violations.

The congressman went on to credit Apple for culling O-Film from its supply chain, but admonished Cook for the recently surfaced allegations.

Buck in the letter asks Cook to clarify Apple's relationship with each company listed in Monday's report and provide documentation relating to internal investigations into forced labor or human rights abuses connected to said firms. Also requested is a "thorough description" of the process Apple undertakes to ensure suppliers are not exploiting workers. Buck also wants to know how Apple intends to keep human rights related malfeasance out of its supply chain.

Cook is asked to pen a reply by June 15.

Apple's reliance on China-based manufacturing has been a topic of debate for well over a decade. The subject came to the fore in 2010, when a spate of worker suicides at factories owned by Foxconn stoked rumors of iPhone sweatshops.

Apple has repeatedly pledged to end human rights abuses, including child labor, poor working and living conditions, forced overtime, and more, at facilities run by Chinese business. To that end, the company holds suppliers to a strict code of conduct, funds regular audits of its partners and releases an annual supplier responsibility report. It also offers a range of education and enrichment programs to supplier employees.

Prior to The Information's report, Apple was in December accused of allowing human rights abuses at facilities run by key partners including Foxconn, Pegatron, and Quanta.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 667member
    Its all about the bottom line$
    elijahg
  • Reply 2 of 16
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 667member
    Not just Apple btw
  • Reply 3 of 16
    XedXed Posts: 899member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Its all about the bottom line$
    Do you really think Cook was turning a blind eye to racism and slavery to turn an even higher profit? I can see Bezos doing that, but I have a hard time thinking Cook was in on it.
    edited May 12 MacProStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 4 of 16
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,352member
    I agree: Tim Cook didn't know he was using slave labour, if that actually happened. But check this short clip to understand what's really happening:



    This problem cannot be solved by anyone at Apple (or any other company) because Apple can't control what happens in China behind the iron curtain. This is simply what you may get for doing business with any dictatorship, not just China.

    But Apple can't claim innocence. Does Apple just obey the laws of China or does it have a higher standard and obey all the laws that are present in America and apply American rules and laws to all its workers and subcontractors in China as if they were working in America. Eg, minimum wages, maximum hours, paid leave, racial hiring equity, right to compensation if workers are injured on the job, pensions, right to unionize, whistleblower protection, right of employees to avoid polygraphs, right to family leave for birth or adoption, etc. I could list dozens of US Federal Laws that Apple (or any other company) probably does NOT choose to follow when it comes to foreign workers. If Apple treated its employees in America like its contractors in China are treated, the entire Board of Directors at Apple would probably be in jail. Apple products are cheaper when they are made in China because no American law, not even the rights in the US Constitution, apply to any workers in China when they are working for Apple directly or indirectly. So if an employee in China is suspected of leaking valuable information about Apple's products, even without probable cause or a warrant (a warrant doesn't matter much in a dictatorship that doesn't have an independent judiciary) that employee's home and property can be intrusively searched by the employer or the government, in order to protect Apple Corporation back in the USA. And Apple's hands are clean.
    elijahg
  • Reply 5 of 16
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,165member
    It's always good when this is exposed as it's an opportunity to improve - it's not the first time and likely won't be the last. Keep in mind that this is a cat and mouse game, remember their government made this and are actively endorsing and encouraging its use.

    Not to be too philosophical, but any interaction in this country will in someway involve the government who are responsible for the forced labour. Where does one draw the line in their dealings?
    If this was a company, let's say Walmart (insert anything there): would you still shop there but only buy the products which aren't tainted by the forced labour - or would you boycott the store altogether because shopping there helps facilitate the evil actions of the company?
    edited May 12 ronn
  • Reply 6 of 16
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,491member
    It sounds like the "National Security" attacks on China have run their course -- so China haters are moving on to "human rights violations" based on "reports".

    Perhaps China should demand that Apple prove it does not employ racists.
    rob53tht
  • Reply 7 of 16
    iadlibiadlib Posts: 62member
    Hate performative politics.... especially from a republican. Nothing to see here, all a song and dance to line someone else's pockets....
    davgregtht
  • Reply 8 of 16
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,638member
    Tim Cook should force him to make a statement on whether the Uyghur insurgency was CIA backed. Or maybe get Tom Hanks to do it.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 9 of 16
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,618member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Its all about the bottom line$
     Grow up.

    Do you honestly think that Tim Cook is sitting in his office knowing that vendors that do business with Apple are using forced labor?  Are you that ignorant and obtuse?

    Let's go through the products you bought and see if anything you have was made using less-than-ethical means?  

    At least I can trust Tim Cook to investigate these claims and take the necessary actions.  iHating trolls like you will disappear like a fart in the wind when it's determined that Apple is not at fault here.
    edited May 12 ronnMacProjony0
  • Reply 10 of 16
    ronnronn Posts: 419member
    Apple is in a no-win situation. They made commitments to be ethical, but any work in China is challenging and fraught with unsavory partners, especially with the CCP in control. The only thing they can do is put forth their values, constantly investigate and then terminate contracts when violations of their policies and/or human rights are verified.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,506member
    You politicians, stop asking Apple, Tim Cook to fix something you can't do it. Apple has no obligation(or political power) to fix political issues in another country. For very long time US politicians and rest of the world helped China(manufacturing and importing cheap products) to become very strong money, industrial base,military,etc. Now, no one can tell China what China should or should not do because China don't care. So these coward politicians putting pressure on companies to do something they can't do. Leave these companies alone. They are USA's future and without them USA will fall behind so fast and in no position to defend it's mighty dollar as world's reserve currency and it's strong military.  This great country will run over by....... I just leave to your imagination.

    edited May 12
  • Reply 12 of 16
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 20,183member
    It sounds like the "National Security" attacks on China have run their course -- so China haters are moving on to "human rights violations" based on "reports".

    Perhaps China should demand that Apple prove it does not employ racists.
    Ah, figured you'd be back apologizing for thuggery.

    Pathetic. 
    ronn
  • Reply 13 of 16
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,491member
    It sounds like the "National Security" attacks on China have run their course -- so China haters are moving on to "human rights violations" based on "reports".

    Perhaps China should demand that Apple prove it does not employ racists.
    Ah, figured you'd be back apologizing for thuggery.

    Pathetic. 

    Ah figured you'd be back apologizing for the propagandists.

    Pathetic.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 912member
    It sounds like the "National Security" attacks on China have run their course -- so China haters are moving on to "human rights violations" based on "reports".

    Perhaps China should demand that Apple prove it does not employ racists.
    Ah, figured you'd be back apologizing for thuggery.

    Pathetic. 

    Ah figured you'd be back apologizing for the propagandists.

    Pathetic.
    Says the guy who swallowed the Russian collusion thing hook, line, and sinker. 
    anantksundaram
  • Reply 15 of 16
    ivanhivanh Posts: 564member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Not just Apple btw
    name them. What do you know?
  • Reply 16 of 16
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 9,491member
    hexclock said:
    It sounds like the "National Security" attacks on China have run their course -- so China haters are moving on to "human rights violations" based on "reports".

    Perhaps China should demand that Apple prove it does not employ racists.
    Ah, figured you'd be back apologizing for thuggery.

    Pathetic. 

    Ah figured you'd be back apologizing for the propagandists.

    Pathetic.
    Says the guy who swallowed the Russian collusion thing hook, line, and sinker. 

    Yeh, I admit I'm guilty of knowing that Russia attacked our last three elections to aid Trump and his compatriots. 
    I was foolish enough to believe American intelligence agencies (every one of them), the Mueller report and the Republican led senate intelligence committee.

    Instead I made the error of not believing Trump's lies and those of his shills like Bill Barr -- who a judge just accused of lying about the Mueller report.
    ronnjony0
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