China has begun taking steps to limit access to government information from outside the country, human rights groups say. It has also recently spread to India, where Apple has been building up its manufacturing base. In February, Uighur workers from Xinjiang destined for a Lens Technology factory were among the first passengers to fly on a chartered flight within China after the pandemic shut down civil aviation, according to an article highlighted in the Tech Transparency Project’s report. Report: China Sells Minorities Into ‘Forced Labor’ to Benefit Apple, Foxconn, Others. Some of these labor transfers sent workers to Lens Technology campuses in Hunan, according to an August 2019 article in the Global Times of China. The lobbyists are trying to water down the bill, according to congressional staffers. Lens Technology stands out from other Apple component suppliers because of its high-profile founder and long, well-documented history going back to the early days of the iPhone. In another alleged propaganda video, posted online in 2019, Uighur workers are seen attending a National Day celebration in front of a red banner that reads “All Workers Sent by the Kashgar Region Human Resources and Social Security Bureau to Lens Tech: Welcome National Day — Sing Red Songs. Lately, Apple suppliers and manufacturers are running into a lot of troubles. "Chinese labor … After Wistrons India debacle, a new report claims iPhone supplier in China forced Muslim labor to work in its factories. In 2017, Apple discovered that Foxconn had employed high school students to build the iPhone X while working illegal overtime. Apple, among other companies, has dispatched lobbyists to Capitol Hill regarding legislation that would hold U.S. companies accountable for using forced labor from the region, according to Apple’s lobbying disclosure forms. Ahead of Apple's new iPhone unveiling set for Tuesday, a New York-based watchdog group released a report accusing the tech giant and its partner Foxconn of breaking Chinese labor laws to … Zhou used her modest savings to build a lens supply business, becoming one of the world’s few female self-made billionaires. Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola are among the companies lobbying Congress for changes in a bill that would ban goods made with forced labor in China's … Frances Martel. She told the New York Times at the time that her big break came in 2003, when Motorola executives called her out of the blue and offered her a chance to supply glass screens for the upcoming Razr V3. The new European data protection law requires us to inform you of the following before you use our website: We use cookies and other technologies to customize your experience, perform analytics and deliver personalized advertising on our sites, apps and newsletters and across the Internet based on your interests. Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment. The company joins several other Apple supply partners said to have benefitted from forced labor in China. It's tempting to say that child labour in China is an outdated issue, at least when you look at the share of the population affected by the problem.Compared to other countries, it isn't nearly as widespread in China. The Chinese government does not permit human rights groups to enter the country to interview laborers or observe conditions. Apple and other tech companies have previously been accused of sourcing raw materials from African mines that purportedly rely on child labor. The documents, discovered by the Tech Transparency Project and … Apple has finally come clean and admitted that its biggest manufacturing partner is employing school kids for up to 11 hours a day to make their ultra-expensive iPhone X. Hubei is a subsidiary of Dongguan Yidong Electronic, which listed Apple as a customer on its website. A report published Sunday by an Australian think tank revealed that as many as 83 internationally known brands – including Nike, BMW, Apple, Sony, Google, Lacoste, and Nintendo – have active ties to factories where evidence suggests … You also agree to our Terms of Service. Byler said the Chinese government’s use of forced labor in the Xinjiang region has long been established, but has stepped up since 2017, when the most recent crackdown on Uighurs began. The Washington Post - One of the oldest and most well-known iPhone suppliers has been accused of using forced Muslim labor in its factories, according to documents uncovered by a human rights group, adding new scrutiny to Apple’s human rights record in China. Human rights workers say news articles like these are the result of coordinated government propaganda. “In the new year, I still want to continue to work hard, learn more skills, earn more money, so that my family can live a good life out of poverty and let parents rest assured,” one of the workers is quoted as saying in the article. According to Human Rights Watch, the Integrated Joint Operations Platform is a database operated by the Chinese government that stores surveillance data and helps authorities determine whether Uighurs should be sent to detention facilities. Study: Nike, Apple, BMW Among 83 Brands Using Chinese Muslim Slave Labor. In response to faxed questions from The Post, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing called forced labor in China “nonexistent” and accused people with “ulterior motives“ of fabricating it. But the text of the article uses language that human rights groups say reveals the workers might not be going by choice. In other words, we all share a part of responsibility in this. Amazon spokeswoman Samantha Kruse declined to comment. Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock said the company has confirmed that Lens Technology has not received any labor transfers of Uighur workers from Xinjiang. “Apple claims to take extraordinary measures to monitor its supply chain for such problems, but the evidence we found was openly available on the Internet,” said Paul of the Tech Transparency Project. “Our research shows that Apple’s use of forced labor in its supply chain goes far beyond what the company has acknowledged,” said Katie Paul, director of the Tech Transparency Project. There is a positive correlation between child labor and school drop out rates. A photograph of the Uighur laborers on the plane, wearing masks, shows them holding the “thumbs up” sign, alongside airline staff, who all appear to be Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group in the country. In some cases, workers have said that when they “accept” the job, they live in heavily guarded campuses and are rarely allowed to leave. Whether the Uighurs are paid, and exactly how much, is unclear. Rosenstock said Wistron has been put on probation. An … Paul said the alleged use of forced labor in Apple’s supply chain “may explain why the company is lobbying against a bill now before Congress that would sanction companies for their involvement in human rights abuses in China.” Rosenstock said it is “false to suggest we ‘dispatched lobbyists’ to Capitol Hill.". It was a remarkable rise for a young woman who hailed from a poor village and began as a factory worker herself. Some Uighur workers have told human rights groups that they were given a choice between taking a job in a far-flung factory or being sent to a detention center. Apple has discovered multiple cases of child labour in its supply chain, including one Chinese company that employed 74 children under the age of 16, … See our, Read a limited number of articles each month, You consent to the use of cookies and tracking by us and third parties to provide you with personalized ads, Unlimited access to washingtonpost.com on any device, Unlimited access to all Washington Post apps, No on-site advertising or third-party ad tracking. “Although they are young, most of them have two years of experience,” the article says. An investigative report was published last week by Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), a Hong Kong-based labour rights group. The Australian report also alleged a transfer of Uighur laborers to Foxconn’s “iPhone city,” the largest assembly plant for iPhones. He said Apple earlier this year ensured that none of its other suppliers are using Uighur labor transferred from Xinjiang. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. We use cookies and other technologies to customize your experience, perform analytics and deliver personalized advertising on our sites, apps and newsletters and across the Internet based on your interests. The documents unearthed by Tech Transparency Project don’t detail the working conditions in Lens Tech factories. Xinjiang, in the far reaches of Western China bordering Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Muslim-majority countries, is facing a brutal crackdown by China’s government, which has placed more than a million Muslims in concentration camps or forced them to work in factories making everything from cotton to soft drinks to electronics. Still, Apple has faced criticism for its labor practices in the past, particularly in China. Rosenstock said Lens was one of the audited suppliers. Technology giant Apple has admitted that child labour has been employed at some of the factories that build its iPods, computers and mobile phones. The government has billed the transfers as part of a poverty alleviation effort spearheaded by the country’s central leadership. Apple investigates report that Chinese students were forced to make its watches The report also pointed to an overwork problem at the factory. By clicking “I agree” below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms. About 7.74 percent of children between the ages of 10-15 are laborers although the legal working age in China is 16. Rosenstock said Hubei and Highbroad have no connection to Apple’s supply chain. China analysts say the Xinjiang-Suzhou Chamber of Commerce has arranged labor transfers in the past, and its leaders have floated the idea of turning the transfers into a business. A March report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute that implicated four Apple suppliers in alleged forced labor transfers relied in part on publicly available documents. Apple benefits from forced Uighur labor at its iPhone supplier factories in China, according to an explosive new report Isobel Asher Hamilton 2020-03-02T13:16:49Z The computer giant company, Apple, has admitted that child labor was used at the factories that built its computers, iPods and mobile phones. As Apple continues to lobby against the Uygher Forced Labor Prevention Act, a bill intended to punish Chinese companies that utilize forced labor from the persecuted Muslim minority group, the Washington Post has just rolled out a lengthy investigation, conducted in partnership with a human-rights group, exposing Apple suppliers’ links to forced labor. In state media and other official channels, the Chinese government has announced transfers of workers from Xinjiang to factories outside the region, often specifying the specific factories where the laborers are destined to work. By clicking “I agree” below, you consent to the use by us and our third-party partners of cookies and data gathered from your use of our platforms. Labor transfers to Lens Technology go back to at least two years, according to the recently uncovered documents. Be grateful to The Party.” Kashgar is a city in the Xinjiang region. The Chamber of Commerce highlighted the use of its “paramilitary” style of managing the workers to keep them “organized, disciplined, regulated,” according to the article. Poor treatment of workers in the Chinese factories which make Apple products is discovered by an undercover BBC Panorama investigation. In a previous report, the Tech Transparency Project alleged the cotton T-shirts worn by Apple Store employees were also sourced from forced labor in Xinjiang. Apple is lobbying against a bill aimed at stopping forced labor in China. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images. (Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.). The Chinese government has helped facilitate the transfer of workers out of Xinjiang to work in electronics factories all over China. 2 Mar 2020 2,967. The China Southern Arlines flight from Hotan to Hunan was covered by a Chinese news agency focused on the airline industry. Researchers say the articles are sometimes taken down before they are discovered by human rights groups. The company has a supplier code of conduct and says it assessed 1,142 suppliers in 49 countries in 2019, ensuring that good labor conditions are upheld. Something has to be done about the human-rights abuses in China that appear to include slave/forced labor for the benefit of U.S. companies such as Apple. It said a number of companies had hired auditors to conduct investigations, which “confirmed the nonexistence of ‘forced labor.’“ It did not name the companies. “The cadres have the authority to send people back to Xinjiang, place them in camps,” Byler said. A notice from the Turpan Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, posted on a Chinese job recruitment site in 2018, announced the planned transfer of 1,000 “surplus urban and rural labor” to Lens Technology. As always, our focus is on making sure everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and we will continue doing all we can to protect workers in our supply chain.”. Corporate giants including Nike face growing calls to cut ties with suppliers alleged to be using "forced labour" from China's Uighur people. 33,705. co. comments In September 2019, China Labor Watch released a report revealing numerous labour rights violations at the Zhengzhou Foxconn factory, the largest iPhone factory in the world. “There’s really no way to give informed consent in Xinjiang any longer because the threat of extrajudicial detention is so extreme,” said Darren Byler, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder who studies Uighur migrants. When the iPhone launched in 2007, Lens Technology won the contract to supply the glass screen covering. (AFP/Getty Images), Zhou Qunfei, the chairwoman and president of Lens Technology, in 2015. Still it highlights the consequences of unregulated development in the race to bring costs down, as a response to consumer demand for ever cheaper products. “Looking for the presence of forced labor is part of every supplier assessment we conduct, including surprise audits. One study found that on average, a child who works 6.75 hours a day has 6.42 fewer hours to study. As part of the review, the notice says, information on Uighur workers will then be sent to the Integrated Joint Operations Platform. €5 every 4 weeks or just €50 €20 for the first year, €7 every 4 weeks or just €70 €30 for the first year. This content is currently not available in your region. 7:32. (AFP/Getty Images). One of the oldest and most well-known iPhone suppliers has been accused of using forced Muslim labor in its factories, according to documents uncovered by a human rights group, adding new scrutiny to Apple’s human rights record in China. Apple publishes an annual progress report documenting its results. Thousands of workers gathered outside Apple supplier Wistron earlier this month in Southern India to protest working conditions. Apple has opened an investigation into claims that high-school students are being forced to help assemble models of Apple Watch at a factory in southwest China. Lens Technology is one of at least five companies connected to Apple’s supply chain that have now been linked to alleged forced labor from the Xinjiang region, according to human rights groups. In the evenings, when their shifts end, the Uighur workers say they are forced to take lessons in communist propaganda. The article says the transfer was arranged by the Xinjiang-Suzhou Chamber of Commerce and was painted as a positive effort to offer jobs to people who are unemployed. Apple products include thousands of components that are made by suppliers all around the world. O-Film appears on Apple’s supplier list. This article has been updated with additional comment from Apple. While some suppliers are small or work for Apple through middlemen, Apple has a much closer relationship with its major suppliers such as Lens. Last month, Foxconn … We rely on readers like you to uphold a free press. Uighur workers transferred from Xinjiang to other regions of China are often, if not always, forced or coerced, according to human rights groups and academics who have conducted interviews with people who have escaped the system. That report detailed labor transfers to factories owned by O-Film, Hubei Yihong Precision Manufacturing and Highbroad Advanced Material, all manufacturers with ties to Apple’s supply chain. Apple, Google, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla have been named in a lawsuit alleging the exploitation of underage labor in the Democratic Republic of … Apple is lobbying against a bill aimed at stopping forced labor in China Apple wants to water down key provisions of the bill, which would hold U.S. companies accountable for … Apple suppliers in China have been tapping high schoolers to staff their factories in a scramble to meet demand for the iPhone X. Foxconn has brought on … Apple Inc. and manufacturing partner Foxconn violated a Chinese labor rule by using too many temporary staff in the world’s largest iPhone factory, the … These protections apply across the supply chain, regardless of a person’s job or location. Much of the evidence detailing which factories receive allegedly forced labor from Xinjiang comes from webpages that are publicly available in China, but can be difficult to find. With its stock more than doubling over the last year, Lens Technology is now worth more than $130 billion. Lens Technology didn’t respond to requests for comment. Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Gretchen Whitmer Removes $220M Meant for Michigan Unemployment Fund From COVID Relief Bill, Washington region records most daily virus deaths since start of the pandemic. Forbes estimates Zhou’s net worth at $15.2 billion, making her the world’s richest self-made woman and putting her just shy of the estate of Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, according to Forbes. Any violation of our policies has immediate consequences, including possible business termination. The documents, discovered by the Tech Transparency Project and shared exclusively with The Washington Post, detail how thousands of Uighur workers from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang were sent to work for Lens Technology. To get a job, applicants must pass a “political review,” according to the posting, carried out by local police and approved by the National Security Brigade. Lens also supplies Amazon and Tesla, according to its annual report. Zhou Qunfei, Lens Technology’s founder and CEO, rose to prominence in 2015, when the company she founded from the ground up went public. Human Rights Group Alleges Apple’s Supplier Using Forced Labor in China Posted by Mahit Huilgol on Dec 29, 2020 in News. “Apple has zero tolerance for forced labor,” Rosenstock said. Apple supplier Foxconn also faced allegations of abusive conditions that led to a spate of suicides about a decade ago. Child labor is a growing concern. Highbroad’s annual report lists Apple supplier BOE Technology Group as its biggest customer. The Xinjiang-Suzhou Chamber of Commerce article refers to “management cadres” accompanying Uighur workers for “logistics support.” According to Byler, “cadres” is often a bureaucratic term for government officials who oversee the political education of the Uighur workers and enforce bans on religious practice. Hubei is a subsidiary of Dongguan Yidong Electronic, which listed Apple as a customer on its website. At least eleven 15-year-old children were discovered to be working last year in three factories, which supply Apple. That report detailed labor transfers to factories owned by O-Film, Hubei Yihong Precision Manufacturing and Highbroad Advanced Material, all manufacturers with ties to Apple’s supply chain. China: Apple accused of violating labour laws as employees at iPhone factory found working 100 hours of overtime & being ‘punished’ for not meeting targets; Incl. Its website has said Apple doesn ’ t receive shirts from Xinjiang, place them camps. 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