Apple urged by China dissident to act against one-child policy, help stop forced abortions

“Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese dissident whose flight to the U.S. in April roiled U.S.-China relations, said iPhone-maker Apple Inc. should take a more outspoken role criticizing China for its one-child policy,” Sara Forden and Adam Satariano report for Bloomberg. “Apple, which hires manufacturers to assemble products such as the iPhone and iPad in China, can help stop forced abortions and other coercive population control measures, Chen said in an interview this week. The blind human-rights activist is betting that Apple’s presence in China and the popularity of its products there will help draw attention to the issue. ‘Apple in China should take a very active role,’ Chen said. ‘There’s a huge social responsibility for these international corporations like Apple.'”

Forden and Satariano report, “Chen and other China human-rights advocates are seeking a meeting with Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to discuss their concerns. They sent a letter to Cook last week asking Apple to adopt measures to end coercive family planning practices in its factories. The proposals included prohibiting access to factories for government family-planning officials and refusing to report women who are pregnant without birth permits. The group also wants other companies, including Cisco Systems Inc., to urge the Chinese government to drop its policy.”

“Introduced in the late 1970s and made mandatory in 1980, China’s one-child policy restricts most married couples to having one child in order to control population growth in the country of 1.3 billion,” Forden and Satariano report. “Migrant women must provide certificates showing their childbearing and birth-control status to the provincial government where they work, according to government regulations. Employers are required to play a role in family planning and accept government supervision, the national commission says on its website.”

Forden and Satariano report, “Apple said in its most recent annual corporate responsibility report that 24 facilities it audited conducted pregnancy tests of female workers and that 56 didn’t have policies and procedures that prohibit discriminatory practices based on pregnancy. Apple said it classified these practices as discrimination, even if permitted by local law, and that the suppliers had stopped the screenings. Apple has said it will stop doing business with suppliers who can’t meet its code of conduct… Chen and his group didn’t provide any evidence that Apple has been tied to forced abortions or other coercive birth- control measures.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. The problem is that Apple opened this can of worms when they decided to donate money toward stopping the gay-marriage ban in California. When you step foot into politics, you open the door for any and all to request or demand your help in other political areas.

    Corporations should be apolitical, in my opinion. But obviously that’ll never happen.

  2. The problem in these United States is that the bulk of those advocating against abortion also advocate against any adequate assistance to children who are born into poverty, have birth defects or permanent disability or other social welfare needs. It’s highly hypocritical- not to mention cruel- to bring a life into the world condemned to a life of deprivation, unmet medical and social needs and no path to a life of any quality.

    I know few- of whatever political persuasion- who support the casual use of abortion as birth control, and that includes organizations like Planned Parenthood. Abortion should be rare, safe and available to those who need it after careful consultation between the pregnant woman and her physician. The Chinese model of forced abortion is unacceptable to most, but China was driven to it by an spiraling population that is unsustainable in even that very large country.

    China is in need of high quality family planning and birth control options in order to manage it’s huge population over time, but that is an issue for the Chinese people to handle- not a for-profit corporation.

      1. Oops, wrong end of the 1-Dimensional political scale. Fascists are on the RIGHT. Communists are on the LEFT. At least that is the simpleton interpretation of how it’s supposed to work.

        The fact is that NEITHER extreme right or extreme left methods of government actually work. Therefore, BOTH extremes end up meeting on a different dimensional plane called TOTALITARIANISM. It’s actually just plain old feudalism with some HIGH class dictating to some LOW class. It’s a total FAILure of governance. It’s the default when chaos ensues, which is the inevitable result of ANY extreme form of governance.

        So frack you BOTH, extremist liberals and extremist conservatives. You BOTH suck major balls!

    1. Since their issue is feeding people… why don’t they just give up the children for adoption instead of abortion. I’m sure there are people in china who can’t have kids… or people elsewhere in the world who would adopt kids from china.

  3. companies should have better things to do than to preach on social issues. Apple is in no way affected by Chinese social policy. Those who think there is a shortage of cheap labor in China obviously haven’t ever set foot there.

    Even more sadly, there are some people (typically corporate executives) who think that the resources of a corporation should be used for political power. Perhaps these “leaders” don’t have faith in their ability to compete on a fair, level market? Corporate lobbying should be outlawed, and the disastrous “citizens united” ruling reversed. Corporations are legal entities operating under charter granted by a government that is SUPPOSED TO BE responsive to its citizens. When that relationship is corrupted (which it has), then crony capitalism corrodes all that is good and true in our marketplace. The evidence should be obvious to all – in the USA, China, and elsewhere.

  4. Overpopulation is the single biggest problem facing the world today. Is there a different approach that this dissident would propose to mitigate an unsustainable population explosion? If so, the world would like to know.

    1. I don’t know if overpopulation is THE most important issue, but certainly a major concern.

      On a lighter note:

      The issue has been around for decades. For fictional sci-fi movie references both direct and in-direct some interesting artistic views:

      Soylent Green, Logan’s Run and THX 1138.

    2. @skeeter: I TOTALLY agree. Just about ALL our human problems at this time go right back to this source problem. We knew the planet was overpopulated with humans in the 1960s. The facts of the damage we were doing to everything, including ourselves, were published and verified. So like stupid monkeys, we ignored it all and made more babies.

      And like all natural systems, once the resources are used up, the population of the exploiting species will CRASH! Except in our case, we’ve got NUKES. Therefore…

  5. How nice when an Apple article gets hijacked by American political trolls…

    We don’t know if Apple as a company has a particular view regarding the legality of abortion in the US or elsewhere in the world. In addition, what this guy is asking Apple isn’t really a position regarding the legality of abortion in China (or elsewhere). The request is fairly narrowly defined and it is really outside of the typical American abortion debate. It is specifically about Chinese policy of FORCED abortions (a woman gets pregnant for the second time and she MUST have an abortion if she wants health benefits, employment, etc, regardless of whether she wants the child or if she can comfortably afford to raise it). The point is, regardless of which side of the abortion debate you’re on, this is a pretty clear-cut argument: government has no business taking away the CHOICE from the women and making it for them. In practically all developed nations of the world the right of a woman to choose what she does with her own body is one of the most basic fundamental rights, and if she wants to have a baby, no government should be allowed to interfere with that choice.

    Now, the more important part of this equation is that various people, groups and organisations will increasingly be approaching Apple with requests for certain high-profile action, in most cases on human rights, sustainable development (greening, etc), decent work and similar issues. This is the burden of the biggest and most prominent company in the world. You convince the big ones, littler ones will follow. Apple may or may not be ready for these kinds of action, but it will have to figure out how to deal with it. This is a pretty big part of their PR and corporate image, whether they like that or not.

  6. It is not Apple’s business to take sides in the internal politics of other countries.

    In any case, there are so many sides to this particular coin that taking a position is bound to upset someone.

    Stay away Apple!

  7. What I find really sick about this attitude is that here we are in the USA FIGHTING to stop the Corporate Oligarchy from fracking up our government and dictating us into a Neo-Feudal world of OVERLORD corporations versus peon serfs, while somehow corporate Apple is supposed to save China: Criminal Nation. The INCOHERENCE here is incomprehensible.

    CHINA: It’s YOUR country. It’s YOUR responsibility. YOU fix it.

    I damned well am working my hardest to fix the USA! I expect exactly the same thing from you. There is no ‘Uncle From America’ coming to save your hell hole of a country for you. Wake up and get to work on your own problems.

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