An Australian Strategic Policy Institute report also included Apple among the 83 companies that benefited from abusive worker transfer programs in China.
The Chinese government would forcibly transferred thousands of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities from Xinjiang to factories across the country, including those of the supply chains of major multinationals.
The report estimate that at least 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to force them to work in factories located in the rest of China between 2017 and 2019. It is said that some people were sent there directly by detention camps.
The workers transferred to the factories were obliged to attend Mandarin and pro-government ideology Chinese courses outside working hours, and they were also subject to constant surveillance without any possibility of attending religious meetings. In short, a real “re-education” program adopted by the Chinese government against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.
They are identified in the report four Chinese factories used by Apple for the production of components or the assembly of the iPhones where some Uyghur Muslims were forcibly transferred:
- O-Film Technology Co., module supplier for iPhone 8 and iPhone X cameras
- BOE Technology Group, manufacturer of OLED screens for iPhone
- GoerTek, component supplier for AirPods
- Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou
Apple has always struggled to improve the conditions of workers in China, so much so as not to renew contracts with those companies that did not respect the fundamental rights of employees. However, this report highlights an issue that has probably escaped Apple’s control.