Apple tells suppliers to use ‘Taiwan, China’ on labels

Apple, which celebrates its self-professed commitment to free expression and human rights, has reportedly told its suppliers in Taiwan to label their components so they describe Taiwan as a province of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

According to Japanese financial publication Nikkei, Apple on Friday warned its suppliers that China has ramped up enforcement of a long-standing import rule “that Taiwanese-made parts and components must be labeled as being made either in ‘Taiwan, China’ or ‘Chinese Taipei.'”


While China and the US have allowed the status of Taiwan to remain ambiguous to avoid open warfare, the uneasy peace frequently gets tested, as was the case this week when Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, visited Taiwan after being warned away by the Chinese government.

Pelosi’s visit infuriated the CCP, which responded by holding threatening military exercises and announcing countermeasures, including the suspension of military, legal, and economic cooperative efforts between China and the US. CCP authorities also sanctioned Pelosi and her family. China’s decision to enforce its import labeling rules to designate Taiwan as its own province presumably follows from this fit of pique.

Apple has prospered by relying on Chinese companies as part of its supply chain. But its dependence upon China for sales and product assembly has left the corporation unwilling to challenge egregious abuses, though it argues otherwise.

In September, 2020, Apple issued a document [PDF] titled “Our Commitment to Human Rights.” It states, “At Apple and throughout our supply chain, we prohibit harassment, discrimination, violence, and retaliation of any kind—and we have zero tolerance for violations motivated by any form of prejudice or bigotry.”

Apple has shown a bit more tolerance for China’s mass detention of Muslim Uyghurs.

In December, 2020, the Tech Transparency Project reported that Apple’s suppliers depend upon forced labor. And in May 2021, a report by The Information accused seven of Apple’s suppliers of relying on forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.

When US lawmakers proposed a law to hold companies accountable for allowing suppliers to use forced labor, Apple lobbied against the bill which was nonetheless signed into law by President Biden toward the end of last year. Apple also lobbied the SEC, unsuccessfully, to block a shareholder proposal to require the company to disclose more details about supply chain labor practices.


Ismail pointed to Apple’s censorship of Taiwan’s flag emoji on iOS devices sold in Hong Kong and Macao.

“During the Umbrella movement in Hong Kong, [Apple] removed an app used by protesters for safety purposes,” he said. “It gave very strict directives to its employees about their involvement in the movement, and abusively and heavily restricted their freedom of expression.”


Source: Apple tells suppliers to use ‘Taiwan, China’ on labels • The Register

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