Earlier this week, I reported on research by an Australian think tank that highlighted how Uyghur Muslims in China were being exploited, maltreated, and used in the manufacturing of products. Apple is one of the companies whose supply chain was cited in the report. Now, the Associated Press has published further on-the-ground reporting about the exploitation of this minority during the making of tech products. Apple is again one of the firms mentioned, along with the likes of Lenovo and Huawei.
OFILM’s website indicates the Xinjiang workers make screens, camera cover lenses and fingerprint scanners. It touts customers including Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, HP, LG and Huawei, although there was no way for the AP to track specific products to specific companies. Apple’s most recent list of suppliers, published January last year, includes three OFILM factories in Nanchang. It’s unclear whether the specific OFILM factory the AP visited twice in Nanchang supplies Apple, but it has the same address as one listed. Another OFILM factory is located about half a mile away on a different street. Apple did not answer repeated requests for clarification on which factory it uses. In an email, Apple said its code of conduct requires suppliers to “provide channels that encourage employees to voice concerns.” It said it interviews the employees of suppliers during annual assessments in their local language without their managers present, and had done 44,000 interviews in 2018.