A highlight from Apple and Uyghur Labor


There is a dizzying array of electronics manufacturers and assemblers who make apple products the iphones airpods and watches. That help. Make it the most valuable company in the world one. Those suppliers is act bell. Polytech which makes internal power components in china and taiwan a couple years ago bell had make a pro that illustrated how it used laborers from xinjiang. The northwest region of china. That is home to many muslim. Ethnic minorities including leaguers electronics manufacturers and local governments have been creating videos out in the open to show the chinese government in beijing. They were working to meet national goals aimed at assimilating minority groups. One joel jalili. Cushy want you to so siga tell you jolla. Eci annual but this kind of work according to scholars and human rights. Researchers isn't voluntary. It's modern slavery and what was shocking about that. Video was that a. They interviewed a special tactical police officer from seen john who escorted them there and was assigned to them. And you know when we talk to researchers about this. They said that this definitely shows the repressive nece in restrict the nature of of these labor transfers. That's wayne mom. Reporter based in hong kong for the information who done significant reporting on. The tech industry's reliance on chinese labor. Working with human rights groups of the information found seven companies supplying device components coatings and assembly services to apple. Who are using suspected forged labor involving meakers and other oppressed minorities in china at least five of those companies received thousands of acres and other minority workers not specific factory sites or subsidiaries that did work for apple the investigation found. This is the four one. One i'm cory weinberg on today's show. We're going to hear more about wayne's reporting on forced labor and discuss the implications for apple which has said it has found no evidence of forced labor anywhere it operates manufacturers including advanced connect tech also denied. They used forced labor in xinjiang. But after winds reporting us lawmakers have asked apple to explain itself. Further conglomerates like apple face a challenging task managing supply chains in a country that has tried to keep suppression of minority groups. Under wraps wayne's reporting help showed us the path that laura t murphy a scholar on contemporary slavery. So it's taken a while for people to really understand what's happening there. But now that we know. And now that we can see from wayne's own reporting here just how how possible it is to track down these labor transfers into know which companies on the ground in china are complicit. I'll speak to laura in the second. Half of the episode about the broader context on forced labor and what companies consumers can do about it. I think this is a really important story. So thank you for listening i. What's my conversation with queen. Mom joined now by the information's wayne. Ma whose investigation this week found that apple suppliers participated in labor program suspected of being part of china's alleged genocide against leaguers wayne. Thanks for coming on the show. Hey thanks for having me so you started your story this week. With a scene from an industrial park and china's xinjiang region. You write that. This park is unglamorous. But there's something really important about it. What did you learn about this. I'll tell you how we kinda found the park. We noticed that there were these statements talking about this industrial park that Supported companies like apple. Hp lenovo and i decided to kind of look at corporate violence to see what companies were registered in the park and one of them popped out at me and it was a company called advanced connect tech. It was a subsidiary of them and I knew advanced. Connect the supplier to apple and so it made sense why that park would say that You know provide support to apple and we started looking into more of this parking and up satellite imagery of it and noticed that there was a structure next door that appear to be a detention camp. And the reason. I knew this is because Other journalists have kind of paved the way using satellite imagery to identify some of these detention camps and they all have very kind of typical features. Why would there be detention camps right near right near an industrial park right near the factory for a manufacturer to apple so one of the goals at that. The chinese government has been trying to complete his raising income levels of she. John residents and so dave transferring millions of migrant farmers and workers from rural parts of xinjiang to factories within john and outside of seen john but also They've been detaining lots of and other ethnic minorities as well and Putting them to work. You know While they're in detention. And so you know. One of those ways are doing is by building these industrial parks next to these detention centers and using the detention centers as a source of labor for the parks. So apple as we said has said that it hasn't found evidence in its supply chain of forced labor. What did you find well. One of the things i looked for is the addresses of some of these factories that apple uses and the names of the subsidiaries and tried to match them up with reports are online public disclosures of These labor programs where workers are transferred from joan to other factories and land and i found him six examples of at least the parent company's The apple works with Receiving these workers and then within those six four of them And i i with advanced connect tech. I guess being at at sites where we know that apple products are made or at least business lines paypal uses. So you've reported before about the issues. That apple has had with its suppliers including the company taking years to cut ties with the supplier that used underage labor. What's the tension here for apple so in july last year tim cook was asked about forced labor and he said that he finds forced labor abhorrent that if they found it they would not the only they would they would terminate a supply relationship if if it were found. But the truth is is that You know that means suppliers apple can turn to for components. Everything they make is everything they have is custom made. It takes years to develop a supplier to develop their capabilities to certify them to get them into the supply chain and even though apple. Has this rule of adam. They require at least two or more suppliers per component Getting rid of one is still very difficult given the the the volumes that they make in the capacity they need so typically in these kinds of situations if they really really want to remove supplier It's a gradual process. They will i stop giving it new business. But that doesn't mean that their existing contracts with the supplier go away and they'll continue to use that supplier up until the end of life of a product. You know when even though they've stopped selling the product is still servicing via warranties. And things like that and so we've seen that in the past as well. When are the companies that we found that received weaker and other ethnic minority labour from xinjiang. luck share prison industry They are very important supplier to apple. They assemble. They started selling the airpods for apple before that they start actually started making lighting cables. I think and then they went into assembling the airpods than they to assembling the apple. Watch and now. They've just acquired a company. That assembles the iphone and they reported last year. That apple was responsible for ten billion dollars worth of revenue which is about seventy percent of their revenue last year and so a company like that apple can't get rid of overnight you know it has

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