Apple taken to task for actions of Chinese suppliers in 'Complicit' documentary [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 25
'Complicit,' which showed at film festivals around the world the last two years and just aired on Australian television, says Chinese electronics firms use harmful chemicals that poison workers and Apple should be held completely responsible for it.

Complicit, and its many film festivals


The 90-minute documentary feature has screened at nearly twenty film festivals in 2017 and 2018, and aired in a 44-minute version on Four Corners, a 60 Minutes-like newsmagazine show on Australia's ABC News. The film centers on Yi Yeting, a migrant worker-turned-activist who battled leukemia while fighting against terrible working conditions.

Confrontation

"The struggle to defend the lives of millions of Chinese people from becoming terminally ill due to working conditions necessitates confrontation with some of the world's largest brands including Apple and Samsung," according to the description when "Complicit" screened in February at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

Directed by Heather White & Lynn Zhang and filmed with hidden cameras over the course of four years in the Chinese regions of Shenzhen and Guangzhou, "Complicit" also tells the story of other young workers who have been exposed to dangeous chemicals, some of whom developed leukemia, as well as their fight for better conditions and practices in the electronics industry.


"Complicit" 2017 Trailer from ComplicitFilm on Vimeo.

The "Complicit" film began with a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014, launched by New York-based director White; the Beijing-based Zhang is the co-director. In the last two years it was shown at the Toronto Film Festival, the Tel Aviv Solidarity Film Festival and the FIFDH Paris Festival, where it received the Investigative Report Best Film Award. A separate crowdfunding effort was launched to assist some of the workers featured in the film.

The idea of the film, starting with the title, is that those worldwide who use iPhones and other popular electronics are "complicit" in the pain caused by Chinese workers on their assembly line, and need to be held more accountable than they are.

The Benzene ban

In 2014, Apple banned the use of two chemicals used for cleaning, n-hexane and benzene, from the final assembly part of its production process, following worldwide pressure from activists. However, the chemicals are still allowed for the subcontracted construction of components such as screens and camera modules prior to full device assembly.

In 2010, 44 workers sued Wintek, an Apple contractor, alleging that they were exposed to n-hexane.

In 2016 Samsung, which is both a supplier and competitor to Apple, was accused of poisoning over 200 workers and covering it up.

The Four Corners web page for the film states, somewhat misleadingly, that "around 500 other chemicals are still used to produce electronics." Just about everything is a chemical, and most chemicals aren't dangerous.

The film is available on the TV show's website and on its app, but permissions don't allow it to be viewed in the United States.AppleInsider has requested to view a copy of the film.

Update One of the directors of the piece, Heather White, contacted AppleInsider about the documentary.

"The film doesn't say 'Chinese electronics firms use harmful chemicals that poison workers and Apple should be held completely responsible for it.'" writes White. "The film raises awareness about what is happening to workers exposed to toxic chemicals in the factories supplying Apple,Samsung, and others. Foxconn is Apple's lead supplier and Foxconn has had numerous documented violations."

"We leave it up to the audience to decide who is 'complicit' in what is happening to young assembly line workers in China," adds White. "We don't use the word complicit in the film and I've learned from our post-film Q & A session that everyone who sees it has a different takeaway: some feel the brands are complicit, and some feel that we as consumers are complicit."

White also provided a list of 500 chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Of the 500, about half have no toxicity, and the rest do have some. All of the risks can be mitigated with proper safety procedures, with the lack thereof at times appearing to be at the crux of the documentary.

White has offered a copy of the film to AppleInsider for review.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,400member
    Clickbait documentary. Single out Apple for scorn just like Mike Daisey did. Stir up the activists, ALL of whom use electronic gadgets made in China by the same factories. I wonder how many of these concerned activists refuse to own an Apple product but instead switched to a phone made by that bastion of environmental purity and holiness, Samsung? Almost all Hollywood celebrities these days are seen clutching an iPhone in their impeccably manicured hands, even the ones who make commercials for the other guys. Hypocrites all since Apple is one of only a few tech companies that actually does more than give lip service to environmental issues. Apple certainly isn’t guiltless but come on, man.
    edited May 24 racerhomie3jony0brucemcmagman1979lollivermichelb76christophbnouserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    What a load of bunk.

    Samsung sells more Samsung’s than Apple sells iPhones m. Apple has forced a code of conduct on their suppliers but Samsung never has. Apple is not the bad guy even if their suppliers still use these chemicals.

    Still, all Apple needs to do is pull their contracts from these suppliers and they’ll see the error of their ways. In fact I suspect this could in part behind the so called parts reductions for iPhone X.

    The problem is Samsung makes too much of Apple’s parts because there is no one else who manufactures at that level.
    magman1979lolliverlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 21
    looplessloopless Posts: 81member
    If you look at the "awards" they are from low-level film festivals no-one has heard of like the "Tel Aviv Solidarity Film Festival"...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 21
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,017member
    lkrupp said:
    Clickbait documentary. Single out Apple for scorn just like Mike Daisey did. Stir up the activists, ALL of whom use electronic gadgets made in China by the same factories. I wonder how many of these concerned activists refuse to own an Apple product but instead switched to a phone made by that bastion of environmental purity and holiness, Samsung? Almost all Hollywood celebrities these days are seen clutching an iPhone in their impeccably manicured hands, even the ones who make commercials for the other guys. Hypocrites all since Apple is one of only a few tech companies that actually does more than give lip service to environmental issues. Apple certainly isn’t guiltless but come on, man.
    I'm sure the cameras used to film the documentary were made in China so the filmmakers are just as "complicit."
    magman1979lolliverSpamSandwichlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 21
    arthurbaarthurba Posts: 78member
    Apple can do better.   Apple are already doin better than Samsung - but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.   I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet - but from the sounds of it they don’t unfairly single out Apple. Unfortunately - ‘adverts’ for it doing the rounds on Facebook do unfairly target Apple. Note: note genuine ABC adverts but clickbait.

    *rant on *
    Speaking of ‘clickbait’ - that really is the problem here.  While ‘paid for clicks’ (advertising) is a thing - that’s where the effort goes.  If we want effort to go to finding solutions to problems and reporting the truth then we have to monentise that and remove the financial incentive to do the opposite.  Ie: the big news here is that Apple try harder to protect the health and safety of their 3rd world contractors.  That’s the story - Samsung don’t even try. Apple can improve - Samsung could try just starting. If that message got you $$ for clicks but for telling lies and half truths got you a ‘fine’ for every click then you’d see a difference in behaviour pretty quickly. yes im talking about government control of the media - but currently we have market control of the media - which is arguably less transparent and more manipulative.   ABC as Australia’s public broadcaster has done a fair job (AFAICT) here - but the click bait articles linking to it / amplifying it are a real problem - everyone reads the headline and no one watches the in depth article.  
    *rant off*
    Jellygoopwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 21
    lkrupp said:
    Clickbait documentary. Single out Apple for scorn just like Mike Daisey did. Stir up the activists, ALL of whom use electronic gadgets made in China by the same factories. I wonder how many of these concerned activists refuse to own an Apple product but instead switched to a phone made by that bastion of environmental purity and holiness, Samsung? Almost all Hollywood celebrities these days are seen clutching an iPhone in their impeccably manicured hands, even the ones who make commercials for the other guys. Hypocrites all since Apple is one of only a few tech companies that actually does more than give lip service to environmental issues. Apple certainly isn’t guiltless but come on, man.
    I'm sure the cameras used to film the documentary were made in China so the filmmakers are just as "complicit."
    No they were made with recycled coke bottles and yards of hemp. Mmmmm..... hemp. 

    Irony would be if you could rent the movie on iTunes. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    In all seriousness, the problem is not with Apple, it's with China. 

    It's the fact that China has no standards for workers health and safety. It would be like comparing them to the US in the 1900s. No safety standards in the workplace, no workers rights, nothing.

    We luckily had our government make changes to make the workplace safer.  I'm not sure changes would come as fast in China as they did here. The only reason there is any change is due to the threat of losing the contract. So the worker is less important than the amount of money they make for the contract. The government doesn't care due to the back room deals made. 

    Apple was one of the only companies that I can see that has forced Foxconn into making changes and then started down the supply chain. 

    When you dont have the backing of the government, it makes it harder to enforce rules for safety. Especially since Dell, HP, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, and pretty much any company that has their product made in China does not want their name brought up when it comes to policing the health of the workplace where their products are made. 

    This could take decades to fix if it's even possible to. 
     
    Jellygoopwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,572moderator
    Businesses outsource components because it’s not their expertise to produce those components.  And there’s zero legal requirement, as far as I know, anywhere in the world, for a business to even be aware of the processes used by its component suppliers to construct those components.  Businesses are consumers in this regard, just like you and I.  We aren’t required to know all the engineering and processes, and substances used in the processes that went into a product we purchase.   We rely on the FDA, or UL or the USDA, or the FCC, etc, to ensure things are done properly.  

    So Apple is no more complicit than we are in the processes and substances used by a component manufacturer operating under the laws of whatever country it does business in. 

    The folks who who created this documentary should google ‘legal test of complicity’ and the same for ‘ommision.’  They might learn something before trying to educate the rest of us.  
    hammeroftruthlostkiwiSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    Businesses outsource components because it’s not their expertise to produce those components.  And there’s zero legal requirement, as far as I know, anywhere in the world, for a business to even be aware of the processes used by its component suppliers to construct those components.  Businesses are consumers in this regard, just like you and I.  We aren’t required to know all the engineering and processes, and substances used in the processes that went into a product we purchase.   We rely on the FDA, or UL or the USDA, or the FCC, etc, to ensure things are done properly.  

    So Apple is no more complicit than we are in the processes and substances used by a component manufacturer operating under the laws of whatever country it does business in. 

    The folks who who created this documentary should google ‘legal test of complicity’ and the same for ‘ommision.’  They might learn something before trying to educate the rest of us.  
    Amen. No one wants to shine the spotlight of responsibility on the governments of where this happens. its easy to blame Apple because they won't have you killed. 
    lostkiwiSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,894member
    In all seriousness, the problem is not with Apple, it's with China. 

    It's the fact that China has no standards for workers health and safety. It would be like comparing them to the US in the 1900s. No safety standards in the workplace, no workers rights, nothing.

    We luckily had our government make changes to make the workplace safer.  I'm not sure changes would come as fast in China as they did here. The only reason there is any change is due to the threat of losing the contract. So the worker is less important than the amount of money they make for the contract. The government doesn't care due to the back room deals made. 

    Apple was one of the only companies that I can see that has forced Foxconn into making changes and then started down the supply chain. 

    When you dont have the backing of the government, it makes it harder to enforce rules for safety. Especially since Dell, HP, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, and pretty much any company that has their product made in China does not want their name brought up when it comes to policing the health of the workplace where their products are made. 

    This could take decades to fix if it's even possible to. 
     
    This is absolutely false:  “We luckily had our government make changes to make the workplace safer.”

    Employers were already raising wages and improving working conditions BEFORE government regulations and unions got involved and took credit. This is what happens naturally as economies improve due to expanding personal wealth. Children become less a part of the workforce, safety standards go up as employees can pick and choose which companies to work for and environmental and health factors become more important despite the interventions of lawmakers. All of these things are occurring in China now. The workers are being paid more and they’re demanding more.
  • Reply 11 of 21
    lkrupp said:
    Clickbait documentary. Single out Apple for scorn just like Mike Daisey did. Stir up the activists, ALL of whom use electronic gadgets made in China by the same factories. I wonder how many of these concerned activists refuse to own an Apple product but instead switched to a phone made by that bastion of environmental purity and holiness, Samsung? Almost all Hollywood celebrities these days are seen clutching an iPhone in their impeccably manicured hands, even the ones who make commercials for the other guys. Hypocrites all since Apple is one of only a few tech companies that actually does more than give lip service to environmental issues. Apple certainly isn’t guiltless but come on, man.
    I don't think that you can argue that activists are complicit because they use Apple's devices at the same time as pointing out that Samsung (and everyone else) makes their devices in China too. That would mean there's no choice unless you don't want a phone or know how to hand make one. There are two courses of action - 1. boycott all phones or 2. shine a light on the Californian manufacturer, which is most likely to change for the better. If Apple changes, then we can all vote with our wallets and force Samsung to change too. The directors have opted for 2

    Businesses outsource components because it’s not their expertise to produce those components.  And there’s zero legal requirement, as far as I know, anywhere in the world, for a business to even be aware of the processes used by its component suppliers to construct those components.  Businesses are consumers in this regard, just like you and I.  We aren’t required to know all the engineering and processes, and substances used in the processes that went into a product we purchase.   We rely on the FDA, or UL or the USDA, or the FCC, etc, to ensure things are done properly.  

    So Apple is no more complicit than we are in the processes and substances used by a component manufacturer operating under the laws of whatever country it does business in. 

    The folks who who created this documentary should google ‘legal test of complicity’ and the same for ‘ommision.’  They might learn something before trying to educate the rest of us.  
    Legal requirements and ethical behaviours are two different things. This documentary is trying to make Apple act ethically as well as legally.
    Jellygoop
  • Reply 12 of 21
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,572moderator
    lkrupp said:
    Clickbait documentary. Single out Apple for scorn just like Mike Daisey did. Stir up the activists, ALL of whom use electronic gadgets made in China by the same factories. I wonder how many of these concerned activists refuse to own an Apple product but instead switched to a phone made by that bastion of environmental purity and holiness, Samsung? Almost all Hollywood celebrities these days are seen clutching an iPhone in their impeccably manicured hands, even the ones who make commercials for the other guys. Hypocrites all since Apple is one of only a few tech companies that actually does more than give lip service to environmental issues. Apple certainly isn’t guiltless but come on, man.
    I don't think that you can argue that activists are complicit because they use Apple's devices at the same time as pointing out that Samsung (and everyone else) makes their devices in China too. That would mean there's no choice unless you don't want a phone or know how to hand make one. There are two courses of action - 1. boycott all phones or 2. shine a light on the Californian manufacturer, which is most likely to change for the better. If Apple changes, then we can all vote with our wallets and force Samsung to change too. The directors have opted for 2

    Businesses outsource components because it’s not their expertise to produce those components.  And there’s zero legal requirement, as far as I know, anywhere in the world, for a business to even be aware of the processes used by its component suppliers to construct those components.  Businesses are consumers in this regard, just like you and I.  We aren’t required to know all the engineering and processes, and substances used in the processes that went into a product we purchase.   We rely on the FDA, or UL or the USDA, or the FCC, etc, to ensure things are done properly.  

    So Apple is no more complicit than we are in the processes and substances used by a component manufacturer operating under the laws of whatever country it does business in. 

    The folks who who created this documentary should google ‘legal test of complicity’ and the same for ‘ommision.’  They might learn something before trying to educate the rest of us.  
    Legal requirements and ethical behaviours are two different things. This documentary is trying to make Apple act ethically as well as legally.
    I agree.  It’s too bad the creator of the documentary doesn’t grok that Apple is supreme among all
    others in its industry in terms of ethical behavior with regard to its supply chain.  I challenge them or any other to present a more ethical maker of consumer electronics.   
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 21
    JellygoopJellygoop Posts: 19member
    Wow guys. A documentary about workers dying some rather horrible deaths from toxic chemical exposure and best you can come up with is “click bait” or “Samsung is worse than Apple”.

    It is about bringing awareness to the issue that workers are dying in the making of a large number of electronics of all brands that the West buy from China, so that we can put pressure on those brands to reform. It was pressure such as this that resulted in Apple dropping benzene from its immediate supply chain level (but importantly, not from the lower supply chain levels which meant that it didn’t effectively eliminate benzene from its  production process at all). 

    Stephen hadn’t had an opportunity to watch the program when writing his piece (the show aired here in Australia this week) but the point that had been made about the 500 chemicals was that they are used primarily in countries that have no regulation in place to ensure that only the safe ones are on the table (ie including China). It’s not misleading to imply that a larger number of unregulated chemicals probably include a larger number of unsafe ones. 
    If you can find a link to the documentary, it’s worth viewing. 
  • Reply 14 of 21
    horvatichorvatic Posts: 101member
    Interesting how they only mention one company out of 100's that produce electronics in China. What about Dell, HP, Lenovo, and so on. Never hear one word about the other manufacturers who use the same companies in china to build there PC's. You never hear them mention 100% green power to power there factories. Never hear them say there products are free of all the major chemicals in there products. Yet only Apple is poisoning the workers? I find the facts far from the truth here and agree that this is a click and bate story made up to smear Apple and only Apple when there are so many companies that produce products from there as well. And you don't hear about those companies reviewing the manufacturing for safety and workers hours and under age workers like Apple does. I blame the companies like Foxcon for poisoning there workers. China's companies have just as much responsibility as Apple or any other company for the safety of there workers. 
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 21
    lkrupp said:
    Clickbait documentary. Single out Apple for scorn just like Mike Daisey did. Stir up the activists, ALL of whom use electronic gadgets made in China by the same factories. I wonder how many of these concerned activists refuse to own an Apple product but instead switched to a phone made by that bastion of environmental purity and holiness, Samsung? Almost all Hollywood celebrities these days are seen clutching an iPhone in their impeccably manicured hands, even the ones who make commercials for the other guys. Hypocrites all since Apple is one of only a few tech companies that actually does more than give lip service to environmental issues. Apple certainly isn’t guiltless but come on, man.
    I don't think that you can argue that activists are complicit because they use Apple's devices at the same time as pointing out that Samsung (and everyone else) makes their devices in China too. That would mean there's no choice unless you don't want a phone or know how to hand make one. There are two courses of action - 1. boycott all phones or 2. shine a light on the Californian manufacturer, which is most likely to change for the better. If Apple changes, then we can all vote with our wallets and force Samsung to change too. The directors have opted for 2

    Businesses outsource components because it’s not their expertise to produce those components.  And there’s zero legal requirement, as far as I know, anywhere in the world, for a business to even be aware of the processes used by its component suppliers to construct those components.  Businesses are consumers in this regard, just like you and I.  We aren’t required to know all the engineering and processes, and substances used in the processes that went into a product we purchase.   We rely on the FDA, or UL or the USDA, or the FCC, etc, to ensure things are done properly.  

    So Apple is no more complicit than we are in the processes and substances used by a component manufacturer operating under the laws of whatever country it does business in. 

    The folks who who created this documentary should google ‘legal test of complicity’ and the same for ‘ommision.’  They might learn something before trying to educate the rest of us.  
    Legal requirements and ethical behaviours are two different things. This documentary is trying to make Apple act ethically as well as legally.
    I agree.  It’s too bad the creator of the documentary doesn’t grok that Apple is supreme among all
    others in its industry in terms of ethical behavior with regard to its supply chain.  I challenge them or any other to present a more ethical maker of consumer electronics.   
    I agree that Apple has done amazing things to improve the ethics of its supply chain and stands out among its peers but that doesn't mean we should stop pushing them to be even better. Just because Apple outsources everything to faraway corners of the world, it doesn't mean that we can happily ignore the people affected by our purchasing decisions.
  • Reply 16 of 21
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,572moderator
    lkrupp said:
    Clickbait documentary. Single out Apple for scorn just like Mike Daisey did. Stir up the activists, ALL of whom use electronic gadgets made in China by the same factories. I wonder how many of these concerned activists refuse to own an Apple product but instead switched to a phone made by that bastion of environmental purity and holiness, Samsung? Almost all Hollywood celebrities these days are seen clutching an iPhone in their impeccably manicured hands, even the ones who make commercials for the other guys. Hypocrites all since Apple is one of only a few tech companies that actually does more than give lip service to environmental issues. Apple certainly isn’t guiltless but come on, man.
    I don't think that you can argue that activists are complicit because they use Apple's devices at the same time as pointing out that Samsung (and everyone else) makes their devices in China too. That would mean there's no choice unless you don't want a phone or know how to hand make one. There are two courses of action - 1. boycott all phones or 2. shine a light on the Californian manufacturer, which is most likely to change for the better. If Apple changes, then we can all vote with our wallets and force Samsung to change too. The directors have opted for 2

    Businesses outsource components because it’s not their expertise to produce those components.  And there’s zero legal requirement, as far as I know, anywhere in the world, for a business to even be aware of the processes used by its component suppliers to construct those components.  Businesses are consumers in this regard, just like you and I.  We aren’t required to know all the engineering and processes, and substances used in the processes that went into a product we purchase.   We rely on the FDA, or UL or the USDA, or the FCC, etc, to ensure things are done properly.  

    So Apple is no more complicit than we are in the processes and substances used by a component manufacturer operating under the laws of whatever country it does business in. 

    The folks who who created this documentary should google ‘legal test of complicity’ and the same for ‘ommision.’  They might learn something before trying to educate the rest of us.  
    Legal requirements and ethical behaviours are two different things. This documentary is trying to make Apple act ethically as well as legally.
    I agree.  It’s too bad the creator of the documentary doesn’t grok that Apple is supreme among all
    others in its industry in terms of ethical behavior with regard to its supply chain.  I challenge them or any other to present a more ethical maker of consumer electronics.   
    I agree that Apple has done amazing things to improve the ethics of its supply chain and stands out among its peers but that doesn't mean we should stop pushing them to be even better. Just because Apple outsources everything to faraway corners of the world, it doesn't mean that we can happily ignore the people affected by our purchasing decisions.
    But we can happily ignore the folks building all other electronics brands?  We can happily ignore those workers in factories producing far lower margin products where there’s virtually no money to improve worker safety or conditions even if there was a will to do so?  Ever shop at Walmart?  What do you suppose the working conditions are in the factories that produce those products as Walmart annually demands thinner margins for its suppliers?  It’s so incredibly hypocritical to call
    out the best while ignoring the worst.  But hey, thanks for playing. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 21
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,540member
    In all seriousness, the problem is not with Apple, it's with China. 
    The same China that Apple has outsourced most of their manufacturing too?  

    Hence, "complicit".

    I swear, some of you guys are so busy falling over yourselves to defend Apple that you're not hearing what's being said at all.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,894member
    Jellygoop said:
    Wow guys. A documentary about workers dying some rather horrible deaths from toxic chemical exposure and best you can come up with is “click bait” or “Samsung is worse than Apple”.

    It is about bringing awareness to the issue that workers are dying in the making of a large number of electronics of all brands that the West buy from China, so that we can put pressure on those brands to reform. It was pressure such as this that resulted in Apple dropping benzene from its immediate supply chain level (but importantly, not from the lower supply chain levels which meant that it didn’t effectively eliminate benzene from its  production process at all). 

    Stephen hadn’t had an opportunity to watch the program when writing his piece (the show aired here in Australia this week) but the point that had been made about the 500 chemicals was that they are used primarily in countries that have no regulation in place to ensure that only the safe ones are on the table (ie including China). It’s not misleading to imply that a larger number of unregulated chemicals probably include a larger number of unsafe ones. 
    If you can find a link to the documentary, it’s worth viewing. 
    Individual lives are meaningless in a collectivist society like China. Until thinking changes at the deepest levels, nothing changes.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 21
    nousernouser Posts: 65member
    Fact: No company in the world controls their contractors and holds them to strict safety standards better than Apple.  But sub-contractors under contract to a third party supplier?  Here is a novel idea, why not put that responsibility where it belongs, with those companies who are purchasing and using these chemicals in an unsafe manner?  It is really the component makers who have choices to make in their companies; to either make the components in a manner that is safe for their employees, or not.   Instead you have hacks who are using the attention generated by large brand recognized companies to garner their 15 minutes of fame and attention.  
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 21
    Co-Director/ProducerCo-Director/Producer Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I'd like to correct a few errors made by commenters here who haven't seen COMPLICIT. Apple is not singled out in the film - Samsung is also mentioned as well as Nokia. The focus of the violations is on Foxconn and their subcontractors. Foxconn happens to be Apple's main supplier - allocating 800,000 workers in China to their production lines.

    The difference the critics above seem to miss between Samsung and Apple, is that Samsung is more than 60% produced in S. Korea - a democracy with a free press and activists who can protest the company's actions without disappearing behind bars without a trial for months or years. A year-long sit in at Samsung's headquarters led by the families of workers poisoned on the job just ended when the company recently negotiated. Samsung created an $80 million compensation fund for their workers w/ occupational diseases in 2015. Samsung is bound by the democratic legal system in place in S. Korea.
    Apple is producing in a totalitarian dictatorship. The company has not acknowledged there's an issue of poisoned workers in its vast supply chain. Until the film was made they didn't monitor what chemicals were being used by Foxconn's workers, their main producer. (Samsung is required to take legal responsibility in Korea and is being sued)
    Apple doesn't monitor or report on their subcontractor factories ( not legally required to do so ) and denies knowledge of them when presented with an independentThe wor report. Activists can't operate above ground in China today - all NGO worker groups have been shut down since 2012. Apple benefits. In our research for the film every poisoned worker w/ an occupational disease diagnosis had a connection back to Foxconn or an Apple subcontractor - due to immense global demand for Apple products, the other brands in China barely make a ripple.

     An ethical company would no longer be making nearly all of its products in a repressive dictatorship 6 years into an unprecedented human rights crackdown, that is now killing activists and occasionally their lawyers. China has good laws in place - they aren't enforced. Could Apple ensure their Code and local laws are enforced in their all factories - absolutely.  $1 Trillion goes a long way. As for their Code of Conduct - all companies have them, granting workers the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining - illegal and impossible in China - in short, the codes are empty words, rarely enforced.
    gatorguy
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