Lens Technology has joined the growing list of suppliers For a company Apple, which has been accused of using forced labor in its manufacturing facilities, adding a new scrutiny to Apple’s human rights record in China.
And according to For documents Revealed by the Technology Transparency Project, thousands of Uyghur workers from the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region have been sent to work for Lens Technology.
An Apple spokesperson denied the report, noting in a statement that Lens Technology had not received any labor transfers for Uyghur workers from Xinjiang, and added that the company had a zero-tolerance policy on forced labor.
The spokesperson said: Any violation of our policies has immediate consequences, including termination of potential work, and our focus is on ensuring that everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and we continue to do everything in our power to protect workers in our supply chain.
However, the Technology Transparency Project cast doubts on Apple’s claims to closely monitor the supply chain, claiming that overt evidence of forced labor was found online.
An article from a Chinese news outlet reported that Uyghur workers dispatched to the Lens Technology factory were among the first passengers to travel on the chartered flight after China shut down civil aviation during the pandemic.
Another article described in detail how labor transfer programs sent workers to Lens Technology facilities in Hunan.
The documents found by the Technical Transparency Project do not include details of the specific working conditions at Lens Technology facilities, which employ some 100,000 workers.
Lens Technology has a long history of supplying lenses and related glass components to Apple for use in iPhones, and the company also supplies lenses to other tech companies such as Tesla and Amazon.
The company joins several of Apple’s other supply partners who are said to have benefited from forced labor in China.
And earlier in 2020, Apple was reported to have abandoned the supplier O-Film after he was accused of human rights violations.
Apple says it is conducting ongoing reviews of the supply chain, and these investigations have uncovered no evidence of human rights violations.
It was said that Apple is one of several companies that are lobbying against a bill that would prevent US companies from importing goods made through forced Chinese labor.
A report released earlier this December claimed that Apple had ignored labor issues in its supply chain.
China considers the labor transfer program as a measure to alleviate poverty, but Uyghur workers have told activist groups that they have been given a choice between getting a job at a remote facility or being sent to detention centers.