Apple supplier Lens Technology accused of using forced Uighur labor

A serious Chinese language provider of client electronics elements, Lens Know-how, has been accused of utilizing compelled Uighur labor employees from the predominantly Muslim area of Xinjiang, China, in keeping with a report from the Tech Transparency Venture (TTP) shared with The Verge.

The report says Lens Know-how — a gadget glass provider to corporations like Amazon, Apple, and Tesla — has used hundreds of such employees as a part of the Chinese language authorities’s ongoing detention and compelled labor marketing campaign towards the Uighur minority. The Washington Publish first reported TTP’s findings on Tuesday.

TTP’s investigation cites media reports from Global Times of China and government records, which allegedly present Lens Know-how was despatched hundreds of employees from Xinjiang to work in its factories within the Hunan province as a part of a “poverty alleviation” program carried out by the Xinjiang–Suzhou Chamber of Commerce. TTP additionally cites an internet video titled “Lens Tech Uyghurs celebrating Nationwide Day,” which exhibits a whole lot of employees sitting on the bottom exterior a constructing with banners revealing the employees’ Xinjiang origin and their employment at Lens Know-how.

Many of those employees beforehand lived in indoctrination camps and are sometimes compelled to surrender Islam and study Mandarin earlier than they’re transported to numerous factories all through China, in keeping with extensive reporting on the crisis.

Apple has denied any function in or connection to China’s compelled labor practices, saying it repeatedly investigates its suppliers as a part of its auditing course of and has seen no proof that Lens Know-how has used such employees on Apple manufacturing traces.

“Apple has zero tolerance for compelled labor. Searching for the presence of compelled labor is a part of each provider evaluation we conduct, together with shock audits,” Apple spokesperson Josh Rosenstock mentioned in an announcement. “Earlier this 12 months we confirmed that none of our suppliers have Uighur employees from ‘pairing packages’ from Xinjiang on any Apple manufacturing traces.”

The TTP report is per that declare, because it solely purports to point out Xinjiang employees at Lens slightly than working particularly on Apple elements. Nonetheless, it’s an unsettling reminder of the bounds of provide chain auditing efforts and the way little is publicly identified about many distinguished tech suppliers, particularly because the Chinese language authorities resists efforts from exterior unbiased businesses and human rights teams to research working situations and labor practices within the nation.

Neither Amazon nor Tesla had been instantly out there for remark concerning contracts with Lens Know-how.

A serious BuzzFeed Information investigation published on Monday additional revealed the extent of China’s marketing campaign towards the Uighur minority, together with a take a look at the huge community of factories the federal government has constructed inside its detention camps for placing imprisoned residents of Xinjiang to work. The investigation additionally cites an Australian Strategic Policy Institute report figuring out practically 100 corporations with suppliers which have used Uighur employees exterior the Xinjiang area who had been forcefully relocated and positioned in labor camps. The record contains high-profile manufacturers like Apple and Amazon, in addition to H&M, Nike, Nintendo, and dozens of others.

Exterior of China, concern has steadily grown over authorities’s therapy of Uighurs, which started underneath the pretense of combating international extremism and selling the values of the Chinese language Group Get together. Activists and human rights watchers have fiercely criticized the detention camps and compelled relocation and work packages. Extra just lately, such teams have known as on corporations like Apple to take extra forceful stances towards the abuses.

The TTP report additionally says the concentrate on Apple is warranted due to the corporate’s function in allegedly lobbying towards the Uyghur Pressured Labor Prevention Act, a invoice that will sanction US tech corporations for connections to the Chinese language authorities’s compelled labor marketing campaign, in keeping with a separate report from The Washington Post published last month.

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