Apple ‘working behind-the-scenes’ to help resolve plight of Chinese ‘iPod sweatshop’ journalists

Apple Store“Apple Computer Inc. said Wednesday it was working to resolve a dispute over alleged labor abuses by an iPod manufacturer in China,” Elaine Kurtenbach repots for The Associated Press.

“Hongfujin Precision Industry Co., a major exporter owned by a Taiwanese company, filed a defamation lawsuit against two journalists at the state-run newspaper China Business News over stories alleging that workers on iPod assembly lines worked under harsh conditions for low pay,” Kurtenbach repots. “The dispute highlights challenges big companies face in living up to their codes of conduct while outsourcing most of their production. It also reflects the pressures Chinese journalists confront in doing their jobs.”

Kurtenbach repots, “According to local media reports, the Shenzhen Intermediate Court, in the southern export hub of Shenzhen, accepted the case on July 10 and froze the personal assets of the two journalists, Wang You and editor Weng Bao, of the Shanghai-based paper. Court officials in Shenzhen refused comment Wednesday.”

Kurtenbach repots, “Chinese media and a journalists’ advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, have criticized the move and urged Apple, which has vowed to ensure fair treatment of workers at its suppliers, to intercede. ‘Apple is working behind the scenes to help resolve this issue,’ an Apple spokesman, Jill Tan, said Wednesday. She said she could not comment further.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Apple asked to intercede on behalf of Chinese ‘iPod sweatshop’ reporters – August 29, 2006
Foxconn sues journalist, editor over iPod ‘sweatshop’ story – August 29, 2006
Apple releases ‘Report on iPod Manufacturing’ – August 17, 2006
Should Apple build its own factory in China to manufacture iPods? – July 03, 2006
iPod maker admits breaking Chinese labor laws; says Apple approved sweatshop labor – June 26, 2006
Apple begins ‘thorough audit’ of Foxconn iPod factory – June 20, 2006
Apple iPod manufacturer Foxconn sternly denies iPod sweatshop claims – June 19, 2006
Apple iPod ‘sweatshop’ story a ‘poorly researched sensationalist article’ – June 19, 2006
Apple rebuts Chinese iPod factory claims – June 13, 2006
iPods made in Chinese sweatshops? – June 13, 2006


  1. They need to get this crap over with already. If you think it’s dragging out now, imagine what it will look like after China ends up crucifying these journalists when Apple could’ve stopped it all with a wink and a nod. Welcome to a whole new level of sensationalist garbage.

  2. Here’s an example of Chinese journalistic freedom:

    On August 17th, Chinese authorities released Zan Aizong, a journalist who reported the Hangzhou City police using force to demolish an unregistered church building and beating hundreds of believers on July 29th. Zan, the former China Ocean News Zhejiang Province bureau chief, was arrested on August 11th for “spreading rumors and disturbing social order.” Two days before his arrest, Zan received a notice from his employer that he was “no more suitable for the job.” As a journalist, Zan said in a telephone interview on August 20th, “my responsibility is to report the truth, even though it means losing my job.”

  3. “Welcome to a whole new level of sensationalist garbage.”

    No offense intended here, but, well, we are ready MDN – not the New York Times.

    (I suppose I should listen to myself, too, though.)

  4. The solution is simple. Apple should tell em to leave these journalists alone or they’ll take their business elsewhere.
    Doesn’t anybody here care about freedom and democracy or is it just good marketing? gman?

  5. Looks like Apple turned the stove off before the noodles could boil over. Wink and nod, wink and nod.

    A maker of Apple Computer’s iconic iPod said today [8/31] it has cut its demand for defamation damages over a news report claiming it mistreated workers to a symbolic 1 yuan (12 cents) following a wave of bad publicity.

    Hongfujin Precision Industry Co. said it was reducing its demands for damages from a pair of Chinese journalists from 30 million yuan ($3.8 million) “to avoid blurring the issue because of the great public attention on the target of the injunction.”

    The company also said it was withdrawing its request that the court handling the case freeze the journalists’ personal assets.

    The dispute highlights challenges big companies face in living up to their codes of conduct while outsourcing most of their production. It also reflects the pressures Chinese journalists confront in doing their jobs.

    Reporters Without Borders sent an open letter to Apple’s chief executive, Steve Jobs, urging him to persuade Hongfujin’s parent company, Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group, to drop its case against the journalists.

    It also sparked a flurry of Internet and media comment.

    “The public’s right to know is in danger when sprawling corporate power, aided by distorted legal procedures, attempt to stifle freedom of the press,” the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily said in a commentary today.

    Apple said yesterday it was working behind the scenes to help resolve the dispute.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.