According to a report published in The Washington Post, Apple, the tech giant, is once again showing its true colors. The report stated that Apple has actively lobbied to Congress requesting that a bill aimed at preventing American companies from using Chinese forced labor practices for the production of their products to soften the language softened.
The Post referenced the statements of two congressional staffers, who claimed that lobbyists connected with the firm Fierce Government Relations, has been asking that the phrasing of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act be significantly watered down.
After having passed the House in September with a vote of 403-6, the bill's language and intent aim to ensure that American apparel and tech companies were not relying on Muslin Uyghurs forced into labor in the Xinjiang province in China.
An estimated 1 million Uighurs are suspected of being held by China's government in detention camps located in the province of Xinjiang—know to be a somewhat heavy producer of those items such as cotton products and computer parts.
The sources that provided the information reported to The Post, who are still unnamed and anonymous, stated that there were several other companies, along with Apple, that are lobbying to soften the bill's language. The staffers did not offer to The Post just how Apple is working to curtail the bill, only that the lobbyists oppose the language of the bill in its current form.
In a disclosure of congressional filings last month, Fierce Government Relations was paid $90,000 by Apple during the year's third quarter to lobby on their behalf to Congress about multiple issues—one of which was the Uyghur Force Labor Prevention Act.
In September, four companies along with one manufacturing plant in Xinjiang were issued "withhold release orders" by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) due to suspicion of participating in the use of forced labor.
As alleged by CBP, the Chinese government has been engaging in "systemic human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities" by operating forced labor camps.
In a statement from Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock to The Post: "Apple is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with dignity and grace." He went on to add that after an investigation conducted into the companies supply chain, there was no evidence found to indicate that Apple products used forced labor in their manufacturing.
Are the alleged charges of tech giant Apple using forced labor in China valid?