The report was made by Tech Transparency Project (TTP), an organization that fights lobbying from large tech companies. Their favorite subject in recent months is of course the situation of the Uyghur minority in China. The latter is persecuted and forced to work in conditions closer to slavery than in Chinese factories, which are not yet masters in compliance with the labor code.
So according to the TTP report, the iPhone glass supplier, Lens Technology, is directly accused of having used this free labor by giving it the sad choice between forced labor in its factory, or Chinese regime detention centers.
Lens Technology accused
The Washington Post published the organization’s report this week. The article tells us that “one of Apple’s oldest and largest suppliers has been accused of using Uyghur labor, according to documents uncovered by the TTP organization.” This evidence shows how thousands of Uyghur Muslims primarily in Xinjiang Province were used by Lens Technology. The Post explains that this supplier is special for Apple, because it has worked with Apple since the debut of the iPhone in 2007 and today represents one of Apple’s biggest partners in China.
According to the documents recovered, the company Lens Technology is based in Xinjiang, a region where a million Muslims from the Uyghur minority have been locked in detention camps in order to “instill in them the values of the regime” according to Beijing’s official speech. But to avoid the regime’s detention centers, some Uyghurs could have worked in factories like those of Lens Technology. They were living in hell, in what is more like a prison than a factory.
China and Apple deny the facts
Beijing for its part, affirms that part of the Uyghur minority is certainly present in these factories. But that she is there by choice. She would work there in decent conditions and according to the Chinese government, no labor law rule would be violated.
For its part, Apple has denied the facts and says it has never found anything irregular on the spot. Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock said Apple assured earlier this year that none of its other suppliers were using Uyghur labor transferred from Xinjiang. Before adding that Apple had “zero tolerance for forced labor. “
If this speech is contested, it has never yet been contradicted. In the Tech Transparency Project report, there was nothing to suggest that Apple was or was aware that Uyghur minorities were being used by Lens Technology, as the rest of the report asserts.
Apple has always made decisions in favor of respecting the rules of the labor code. The firm has one of the strictest internal charters in the industry and its subcontractors are forced to follow it to the letter if they don’t want to lose their precious contract with Apple.
This was notably the case with Pegatron, or more recently with Wistron. The Taiwanese subcontractor has been the target of numerous international investigations after the riots of its employees at its plant in southern India. If the claims of the Wistron employees are true, the contract with Apple could be gone for good.