Nike, Apple among dozens of major brands implicated in report on forced labour

Eryk Bagshaw, The Sydney Morning Herald:

Nike, Apple and a major manufacturer building trains in Australia are among the dozens of global brands implicated in a new report on forced labour in China, amid growing international concern over the treatment of the Uighur people.

The report, by the US State Department-funded Australian Strategic Policy Institute, alleges some factories that supply the brands appear to be using Uighur workers sent directly from re-education camps.

The Washington Post ran a more detailed, first-hand account of the said forced-labor in this chilling article.

From The Post:

When their shifts end, the Uighur workers — almost all women in their 20s or younger — use hand gestures and rudimentary Mandarin to buy dried fruit, socks and sanitary pads at the stalls. Then they walk around the corner, past the factory’s police station — adorned with Uighur writing telling them to “stay loyal to the party” and “have clear-cut discipline” — to dormitories where they live under constant supervision.

The Uighur workers are afraid or unable to interact with anyone in this town, north of Qingdao, beyond the most superficial of transactions at the stalls or in local stores, vendors say. But the catalyst for their arrival here is well understood.

“Everyone knows they didn’t come here of their own free will. They were brought here,” said one fruit-seller as she set up her stall. “The Uighurs had to come because they didn’t have an option. The government sent them here,” another vendor told The Washington Post.


The researchers found 27 factories in nine Chinese provinces that have used Uighur workers hired through labor transfer programs from Xinjiang since 2017. The factories are owned by firms that feed into the supply chain of some of the world’s best-known companies, including Apple, Dell and Volkswagen, the report finds.

BOE Technology Group, which supplies screens to Apple, and O-Film, which makes iPhone cameras, both use Uighur labor, either directly or through contractors, the report found. Apple lists both companies on its latest supplier list.

From Apple:

“Apple is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said spokesman Josh Rosenstock. “We have not seen this report but we work closely with all our suppliers to ensure our high standards are upheld.”

More on this story sure to follow.