Apple lobbyists are trying to weaken a new law aimed at preventing forced labor in China, according to two congressional staffers familiar with the matter, highlighting the clash between its business imperatives and its official stance on human rights.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would require U.S. companies to guarantee they do not use imprisoned or coerced workers from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang, where academic researchers estimate the Chinese government has placed more than 1 million people in internment camps. Apple is dependent on Chinese manufacturing, and human rights reports have identified instances in which alleged forced Uighur labor has been used in its supply chain.
The staffers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Apple was one of many U.S. companies that oppose the bill as it's written. They both characterized Apple's effort as an attempt to water down the bill.
Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock said the company "is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect. We abhor forced labor and support the goals of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act."