Nanchang O-film Tech, a supplier of companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, has been accused by the United States Department of Commerce of violating the rights of Muslim minorities in China.
The United States Department of Commerce added eleven companies to a list of companies involved in human rights violations. The companies are involved in the Chinese campaign against Muslim minorities in the Uighur autonomous region of Xinjiang (XUAR.)
Among the companies is O-film Tech, which produces cameras, touch screens and fingerprint sensors. The company was involved in the production of products such as the fifth generation iPad mini. The company is added to the list related to forced labor.
All listed companies have been accused of supporting “China’s repression campaign, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor, involuntary biometric data collection and genetic analysis targeting Muslim minority groups,” said a statement from the United States Department of Commerce.
Two companies, Xinjiang Silk Road BGI and Beijing Liuhe BGI, are accused of collecting DNA to carry out genetic analyzes to further suppress Mulsim minorities in XUAR. It is not known that they are connected to Apple.
“Beijing is actively promoting the reprehensible practice of forced labor and abusive DNA collection and analysis programs to crack down on its citizens,” said Commerce Minister Wilbur Ross. “This action will ensure that our products and technologies are not used in the Chinese Communist Party’s despicable offensive against defenseless Muslim minority populations.”
Companies will face new restrictions on access to items of American origin, including consumer electronics.
Apple is no stranger to eliminating human rights violations in its supply chain. The most famous case involved iPhone production partner Foxconn, who had an ongoing problem with workers who committed suicide.
In response, Apple began publishing a supplier responsibility report each year, highlighting areas for improvement and concerns.
Apple may be severing ties with O-movie Tech for the violations. In 2019, Apple removed 18 smelters and refineries for violating the Conflict Minerals Code of Conduct.