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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 75
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 75
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 75
    When will the piece of trash known as Dick Turban going to be interrogated?
  • Reply 4 of 75
    ltmpltmp Posts: 204member
    The majority whip for the Dems... obviously this guy is extremely capable and should be taken seriously.
  • Reply 5 of 75
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 75
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.



    It?s interesting when people have knee-jerk reactions against obviously GOOD causes. This cause looks good at first AND second glance, so I don?t get it.
  • Reply 7 of 75
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 75
    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?
  • Reply 9 of 75
    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
  • Reply 10 of 75
    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?



    *
  • Reply 11 of 75
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    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...
  • Reply 12 of 75
    ivladivlad Posts: 740member
    I feel like Apple is becoming a huge corporation that can not sustain its reputation and image anymore as a "Think Different" community.
  • Reply 13 of 75
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 75
    What a Dick!



    Ha! First!
  • Reply 15 of 75
    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???
  • Reply 16 of 75
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 75
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 75
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,611member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 75
    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?
  • Reply 20 of 75
    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.
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