Nike and Apple are showing their true colors according to a new report released by The New York Times. “Based on discussions with congressional staff and lobbying records,” it was reported that the companies are pushing back against proposed legislation which would assume “that all goods manufactured in Xinjiang [China] are made with forced labor” unless proven otherwise. This legislation would thus ban the importation of materials or products from the Xinjiang region into the U.S. Xinjiang is a location in which many of Apple and Nike’s products are made, as well as other retail giants such as Adidas and Coca-Cola. Growing evidence of Uyghur Muslim detention camps in the region – in which forced sterilizations, abortions, and slave labor occur – has been uncovered in the past years. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) first presented the legislation, known as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, in March of this year.
Both sides of the aisle support the legislation. “Global fashion brands source so extensively from Xinjiang that a coalition [of more than 170 human rights and trade groups] estimates that it is ‘virtually certain’ that as many as one in five cotton products sold across the world are tainted with forced labor and human rights violations occurring there,” wrote Annie Kelly, a human-rights journalist from The Guardian. A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute showed that one Nike factory in China still “employed 800 Uyghur workers at the end of 2019,” and the Times report showed that the company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby on this issue, despite Nike’s denials of such. Additionally, The Washington Post previously reported that Apple has in fact lobbied against the legislation, as well, despite the company’s claims. Many have pointed out the hypocrisy of those involved:
“Apple CEO Tim Cook says he won’t tolerate modern slavery, but @Apple ‘has imported clothes – probably uniforms for staff in stores – from a company facing US sanctions over forced labor at a subsidiary in China’s Xinjiang,’ where Uighurs are persecuted.”Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch
“These major corporations frequently place themselves at the forefront of social issues and purport to lead the charge for change, but informed readers already know just how hollow their commitment to true social justice is. The priorities of Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola, in order, are: 1) Money; 2) PR; 3) Human rights/social issues.”Bobby Burack, Journalist at Outkick
“Colin Kaepernick has time and again slammed the U.S. over slavery, even though it was eliminated more than 150 years ago. Yet, Kaepernick has remained utterly silent as his financial backer, Nike, employs slave labor in China to make its products.”Warner Todd Huston, Contributor for Breitbart News
NIKE & APPLE