Apple supplier accused of human rights abuses by US Department of Commerce

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As detailed in a new report from CNET, the US Department of Commerce has added 11 Chinese companies to its list of those implicated in human rights violations. Among those 11 companies is one that serves as a supplier or partner for countless big tech companies, including Apple.

The report explains that Nanchang O-Film Tech has links to Apple and other tech companies:

The US Department of Commerce added 11 Chinese companies to its list of firms implicated in human rights violations, including China’s reported campaign against Muslim minority groups from an area of the country known as the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. At least one of those companies, Nanchang O-Film Tech, is listed as a supplier or undefined ‘partner’ with nearly two dozen tech and car companies, including Amazon, Apple, Dell, GM, and Microsoft.

The Commerce Department said that these 11 Chinese companies supported “mass arbitrary detention, forced labor, involuntary collection of biometric data, and genetic analysis” of Uighurs and other minority groups. The companies will all now face restrictions on United States products and technology.

‘Beijing actively promotes the reprehensible practice of forced labor and abusive DNA collection and analysis schemes to repress its citizens,’ Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement Monday. ‘This action will ensure that our goods and technologies are not used in the Chinese Communist Party’s despicable offensive against defenseless Muslim minority populations.’

Nanchang O-Film Tech makes cameras, touchscreens, and fingerprint sensors, but its exact relationship with Apple is unclear. Apple publishes annual supplier reports as well as a full list of the 200 largest suppliers with which it works. The company has yet to publish its 2020 list of suppliers, but as of the 2019 release, O-Film Tech makes the cut.

You can read the full announcement from the US Commerce Department here.

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