Apple cuts off China's OFilm over using Uyghur slave labor
In July 2020 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Denies a report that one of their Chinese Suppliers are using Uighur slave labor on Production Lines." Then in December 2020 we followed-up with a report titled "Report Claims that Apple has expelled OFilm from its iPhone 12 Camera Module Supply Chain for possible link to Slave Labor." The report noted that the U.S. Department of Commerce had early in July designated OFilm Group among a list of eleven Chinese companies that it accuses of taking part in human rights violations against the Uyghur people.
After a denial, "Apple Inc. has severed ties with Chinese component supplier Ofilm Group Co. over allegations it’s involved in a government program that transfers ethnic minorities from Xinjiang to other parts of the country for work, a person familiar with the matter says."
The Bloomberg report further stated that "Apple is thought to have terminated its contracts with Ofilm over the concerns a few months ago, the person said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter.
It was unclear whether Apple -- which has drawn fire in the past for alleged rights violations within its massive Chinese-centered supply chain -- knows if the allegations about Ofilm are true. The world’s most valuable company has in recent years begun to clamp down on suppliers and in 2020 suspended iPhone-assembler Pegatron Corp. on suspicion of labor abuses. The issue of China’s actions in Xinjiang is a particularly thorny one in the U.S., where it’s been likened to genocide.
China has been accused by the U.S. and other Western governments of detaining more than 1 million Muslim Uyghurs in camps in the far western Xinjiang region and pushing them into work programs. The U.S. government and lawmakers in Canada and the Netherlands have said China’s actions constitute genocide. Washington has also banned cotton products from the region, and there have been some calls to boycott next year’s Winter Games in Beijing over the issue.
China has repeatedly denied the allegations, dismissing them as lies. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular briefing Wednesday in Beijing there was no truth to allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang. He decline to comment on Apple and Ofilm.
Kelsey Munro, a senior analyst at ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre stated for the report that "Companies professing ethical manufacturing values have an obligation to invest resources in understanding their supply chains and ensuring they’re not contributing, however indirectly, to this state-backed form of coerced labor." For more on this, read the full Bloomberg report on Yahoo! News Canada.
Other reports on this issue
01: China sells Muslim minority workers to Factories making U.S. Products for Apple, Nike, Adidas and others
02: The Washington Post Claims that Apple is Lobbying against a U.S. Bill aimed at Stopping Forced Labor in China