Major U.S. companies, reportedly including Apple, are lobbying against a new piece of legislation (Uighur labour bill) that seeks to prevent forced labour in China.
Two congressional officials familiar with the matter said Apple’s lobbies were trying to undermine Uighur labour bill to prevent forced labour in China, which has caused tensions between its business instability and its official human rights stance.
Highlighted Under the Uighur Forced Labour Prevention Act, U.S. companies must ensure that they do not use prisoners or forced labour in most of the Muslim region of Xinjiang, where scholars estimate that the Chinese government has provided more than 1 million people with internships Placed in camps. Apple relies heavily on Chinese manufacturing, and human rights reports have highlighted the alleged use of Uighur forced labour in Apple’s supply chain.
In March, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute published a report that many Chinese suppliers were currently using thousands of displaced Uighur Muslims, who are currently the target of a campaign of cultural genocide in the Xinjiang region, to carry out forced work.
Apple said in July that it had conducted a detailed investigation of Nanchang O-Film Tech, which the Commerce Department added to the export blacklist for its alleged involvement in human rights violations in Xinjiang, and “found no evidence of forced labour on Apple production lines. “
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a congressional hearing in July that “forced labour is abhorrent, and we would not tolerate it in Apple,” but did not specifically state whether the company would sever ties with suppliers that use it.
The new bill will make it harder for US companies to ignore ongoing abuses in China and give US authorities additional power to enforce the regulation. A provision of the Uighur Labour Bill requires public institutions to certify to the Securities and Exchange Commission that their products cannot be manufactured by Xinjiang forced labour. If companies are found to be using forced labour in the area, they can be prosecuted for securities violations.
Compliance with the Uighur Labour bill could be costly for businesses, especially in the textile industry, where cotton is woven into clothing all over the world, making it difficult and expensive to detect. The Xinjiang region is known as a centre of cotton production, and the garment industry in the region deserves most of the checks on the use of textiles allegedly produced by forced labour.
When Joe Biden is sworn in as President of the United States on January 20, he will inherit many thorny issues. Among them is how to confront China with its systematic persecution of a predominantly Muslim Uygar ethnic minority in the northwestern Xinjiang region. There is a growing consensus that it is genocide, a label that Biden himself has applied to the situation.