Almost a quarter of German companies operating in China planned to relocate production from the country in 2019, according to a report by the German Chamber of Commerce in China. For example,
Adidas has halved its Chinese manufacturing since 2010, with much of the production moving to Vietnam, and pledged in July last year to cut all ties with suppliers implicated in a report that uncovered forced labour being used in some factories.
‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang.
The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority1 citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 82 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.
This report estimates that more than 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps.2 The estimated figure is conservative and the actual figure is likely to be far higher. In factories far away from home, they typically live in segregated dormitories,3 undergo organised Mandarin and ideological training outside working hours,4 are subject to constant surveillance, and are forbidden from participating in religious observances.5 Numerous sources, including government documents, show that transferred workers are assigned minders and have limited freedom of movement.6
A Chinese court has ordered a ban on the sale of several Apple iPhone models in China for violating two patents of chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, although Apple said all of its phone models remained on sale on the mainland.
“Apple responded by saying, “Qualcomm’s effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world”.
iPhone models from the iPhone 6S through to iPhone X are affected
Qualcomm alleges Apple infringed patented features related to resizing pictures and managing apps on a touch screen
Apple calls the move “desperate”, says iPhones still on sale in China
The case, brought by Qualcomm, is part of a global patents dispute between the two US companies that includes dozens of lawsuits.
It creates uncertainty over Apple’s business in one of its biggest markets at a time when its falling share prices reflect concerns over waning demand for new iPhones.
Qualcomm said the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China found Apple infringed two patents held by the chipmaker and ordered an immediate ban on sales of older iPhone models that use the chip.