Campaigners urge Apple to help stop Chinese Uyghur forced labor

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What you need to know

  • Apple has been urged to help stop Chinese Uyghur forced labor.
  • None of Apple's suppliers have been confirmed guilty of using forced labor.
  • Thousands of Uighurs have been sent to factories across China.

Several campaign groups have joined together to help rid the world of forced labor in China, specifically relating to the thousands of Uyghurs that have been sent to factories across the country. One company that has been called out is Apple, although there has been no confirmation that its partners are involved in any way.

Apple has faced allegations of poor worker conditions at Chinese factories before, but the suggestion that people are being forced to work against their will is a different matter altogether. Unfortunately, it's becoming clear that there's something to the story as a whole, with Apple joined by other brands in the campaigners' crosshairs according to BBC News.

Reports by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and the US Congress, among others, have found that thousands of Uighurs have been transferred to work in factories across China, under conditions the ASPI report said "strongly suggest forced labour". It linked those factories to more than 80 high-profile brands, including Nike, Apple and Gap.China, which is believed to have detained more than one million Uighurs in internment camps in Xinjiang, has described its programmes - which reportedly include forced sterilisation - as job training and education.

For its part, Apple says that an investigation "found no evidence of any forced labor on Apple production lines and we plan to continue monitoring".

The coalition of campaigners wants companies, including Apple, to continue to investigate partners that have factories in the Uyghur Region and cut ties with them if they are found to be using forced labor. Which, of course, they should.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.