Republican Colorado Rep. Ken Buck sent a letter Tuesday to Apple CEO Tim Cook detailing the company’s human rights record and incidents over the last year and calling for clarification on allegations linking Apple to forced labor in China.
Buck asked Cook in the letter first obtained by the Daily Caller about his July 29, 2020 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee where he stated that “forced labor is abhorrent, and we would not tolerate it at Apple.” Buck said Apple’s 2021 Annual Progress Report claims they found no evidence of involuntary labor on any Apple production lines.
In the letter, Buck asked Cook if Apple investigated business relationships that are not directly in Apple’s production lines for possible links to forced labor or other severe human rights violations. Buck also asked Cook if Apple discovered any connections to these violations based on its investigations.
“Recently, Apple terminated its ties to O-Film Group Co., reportedly because of the company’s participation in a forced labor transfer program involving Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. According to a report published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, at least 700 Uyghur laborers transferred out of Xinjiang through this forced labor program worked at an O-Film factory in Jiangxi. Notably, O-Film group and its operations in Jiangxi are included on Apple’s 2020 Supplier List,” Buck said in the letter.
“On June 8, 2021, the Tech Transparency Project released a report alleging that Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology, a wind turbine producer in Xinjiang, participates in the same labor transfer program as O-Film Group, based on local government documentation. The company also maintains close ties to the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), which is currently sanctioned by the United States for its role in the Chinese government’s ongoing genocide in Xinjiang,” he continued.
READ THE LETTER HERE:
A May report from The Information detailed Apple’s relationship with seven Chinese suppliers that allegedly use forced labor programs associated with the Uyghur genocide. These allegations, if true, would conflict with Cook’s July 2020 congressional testimony that Apple does not use forced labor and would “terminate a supplier relationship if it were found.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Buck Demands Answers On Apple’s Relationship With Companies Accused Of Using Forced Labor)
The company is currently lobbying Congress on a bill that would prevent American companies from using forced labor in the Xinjiang region. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Banks Slams Apple’s ‘Support For Slavery’)
“There are concerning discrepancies between Apple’s Annual Progress Report and reports issued by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the Tech Transparency Project on human rights incidents in the last year.
Apple has reportedly worked with two suppliers that have participated in a forced labor program involving Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. One of those suppliers is closely tied to a company currently sanctioned by the U.S. for its involvement in the Chinese government’s genocide in Xinjiang.
Apple terminated its partnership with one of the companies but continues to work with the other. That is unacceptable. And Apple’s report makes no mention of the two companies’ disturbing connection to human rights abuses. That is alarming. Apple needs to give us some answers,” Buck told the Daily Caller.
Buck, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, is a frequent critic of tech companies. He recently called for the federal government to break up Facebook.