What you need to know
- Congressman Ken Buck has written to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
- It follows reports that seven Apple suppliers in China may be linked with forced labor in the Xinjiang region.
- Congressman Buck has asked for more information about the suppliers and Apple's process of vetting manufacturing partners.
Congressman Ken Buck has written to Apple CEO Tim Cook to express concern about reports that seven Apple suppliers may have links to forced labor in the Xinjiang region of China.
Congressman Buck shared the letter he had written to Cook on Twitter stating "I'm deeply concerned by Apple's potential connection to the horrific crimes against humanity being committed in Xinjiang.
In the letter he writes:
I write to express my deep concern regarding a recent report published by The Information and human rights groups detailing your company's potential connection to forced labor and to the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity being committed against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
Congressman Buck noted Cook's own comments to a House Committee, describing forced labor as "abhorrent" and stating Apple did not tolerate the practice and would terminate any business relationship over the matter.
In the letter, the Congressman says "I hope you can appreciate the seriousness of the allegations that your company's supply chain sources products from at least seven companies that use forced labor." The letter concludes with a request for information regarding the nature of Apple's business relationship with the seven suppliers, documentation pertaining to any internal investigation prior to entering a relationship or during a relationship with the companies, a description of Apple's process for vetting suppliers and a description of any plans Apple has to ensure current and future suppliers have no forced labor ties, or indeed ties to "other egregious human rights abuses".
A report earlier this week noted seven factories that are linked to suspected forced labor. In a statement at the time, Apple said "looking for the presence of forced labor is part of every assessment we conduct in every country where we do business" and that it found "no evidence of forced labor anywhere we operate" following investigations.