Apple quietly publishes human rights policy ahead of shareholder motion deadline

Apple’s board of directors has approved a “human rights” policy and quietly published it ahead of a September 5th deadline for shareholders to submit motions for next year’s investor meeting. Apple does not mention China, but its stench pervades the document thoroughly.

Financial Times:

Apple logoThe four-page document [PDF], cited here for the first time, tries to walk a fine line between upholding human rights while conceding that Apple is “required to comply with local laws” in authoritarian countries.

The document said Apple is “committed to respecting the human rights of everyone whose lives we touch — including our employees, suppliers, contractors and customers.”

Its approach is based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. But it does not mention any particular country, nor does it refer to high-profile dilemmas like what to do when China, the world’s largest smartphone market, asks it to ban apps that help users evade censorship and surveillance. The Apple policy merely states: “Where national law and international human rights standards differ, we follow the higher standard. Where they are in conflict, we respect national law while seeking to respect the principles of internationally recognised human rights.”

MacDailyNews Take: In a nutshell: We’d love to do more, but money’s involved, so we cede to despots.

Apple’s full policy document is here.


  1. Social Justice only goes so far with these corporate shills and soy latte, Obama pajama boy athletes when the “Benjamins” are involved. Good ole Ben, now there is one idolatry that will never be toppled by these protesting idiots!

          1. “And you will be right here” 100% not addressing one word in my post and instead deflecting attention away it to make a false prediction.

            Enjoy your fantasy world, I prefer reality…

      1. If Samsung can do it pulling phone production out of China, should be a walk in the park for the supply chain genius. Like I said, the impetus will be the bottom line. Cook convinced the president to not put his announced tariffs on the iPhone for now and the earnings are stable. For now until earnings are disrupted, won’t happen…

  2. This is normal Capitalism. You know when the fictional Vito Corleone says,
    “Hey, it’s just business; Nothing personal I hope you understand.” Apple is saying, “Hey, it’s just Capitalism; Nothing personal. I hope you understand.”
    So there is some overlap in hobnobbing with authoritarians between Trump’s Fascism and Cook’s Late Capitalism, Late Capitalism because its top heaviness with a small number of the dictatorial wealthy is risking collapse. The head is too big and heavy and the weakened and deprived body can’t support it further.
    And, to be frank, Tim is as dictatorial in corporate Apple as Xi Jinping is in fake Communist China.

    1. The article is about Apple’s Human Rights policy and not about President Donald J. Trump, who has been coaxing Apple to leave China and bring jobs back to the USA, a direct result of bad trade policies specifically NAFTA. Certainly Apple is not alone as hundreds of companies have done the same…

      1. Yes, Clinton’s NAFTA was bad and, surprisingly, Trump got rid of it somewhat. He also got rid of Obama’s TPP which had a law court that would have run parallel to, and subsumed in several ways, the current Constitutional one. Trump did good by destroying the Clinton and Bush Cabals, but now he’s trying to institute bona fide fascism and outmost nepotism and hereditary succession. Of course, Clinton, Kennedy, Adams, and Bush all succeeded to an extent.

  3. Fake Social Justice Warrior and hypocrite grande Tim Cook early in his Apple career was the architect of China manufacturing. Taking full advantage of NAFTA and moving hundreds of thousands of potential jobs outside of the USA for cheap Communist labor. Obviously the almighty dollar has zero HUMAN RIGHTS CONSCIENCE.

    China Human Rights Violations HIGHLIGHTS:

    ~ The Chinese justice system plagued by unfair trials, torture, ill-treatment in detention and extensive use of the death penalty as a state secret.

    ~ Repression particularly severe in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) and Tibetan-populated areas (Tibet). Authorities subjected Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

    ~ LGBTI people faced widespread discrimination and stigma in society.

    ~ Chinese government continued to intimidate, harass, and prosecute human rights defenders.

    ~ President Xi Jinping emphasized that the legal system should be under the Chinese Communist Party’s absolute leadership.

    ~The government strengthened its restrictions to the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. The authorities rigorously censored all media, from print media to online games.

    GoeB addendum: China censored Apple apps and Cook quickly capitulated so as not to interrupt the stream of big corporate profits.

    ~Beijing continued to tighten its grip on Christians and Muslims as China pushed ahead with the “sinicization of religion”.

    Source and more enlightening details regarding China human rights violations, here:

    Cook’s lame excuse we follow laws in China while turning a blind eye to human rights abuses for obscene profits is just wrong…😡

    1. MORE China Human Rights Violations:…

      “Now China has 30 million more men than women, 30 million bachelors who cannot find brides. … They call them guang guan, ‘broken branches,’ that’s the name in Chinese. They are the biological dead ends of their family.

      … the policy also led to forced abortions and the confiscation of children by the authorities. Looking ahead, China is also facing a shortage of workers who can support its aging population.

      … “The one-child policy drastically reshaped the composition of China’s people. So now they have a population that’s basically too old and too male and, down the line, maybe too few.”

      Where is the Left screaming bloody murder and boycotting big business making obscene profits while human rights violations exist. Crickets : : : : :

      Oh that’s right, the double standard hypocrisy only applies to Republican businesses…

        1. Yes, adhering to the Constitution and the First Amendment while exercising my civil rights I am free to express my opinion.

          A perfectly stated apt description of Cook is JUST THAT — what part do you not understand?!?!?

          While I have consistently advocated replacement of a SJW beancounter CEO in the direction of a tech creative CEO, better sit down, I have enormous respect for the man and his convictions. I simply do not agree or support everything 100% about Cook like you do, Supreme Apple Apologist.

          But what I take serious issue with is your dishonest extrapolation presenting a false negative accusation that is totally untrue. I will always attack LYING liberal descriptions from the likes of Libtards like you. 😡

          Nuff said…

          1. So, if I were to describe you as a “Homophobic right-wing supporter of social injustice who doesn’t have a clue about being a CEO,” you wouldn’t regard that as a personal attack?

            1. Yet another in an exhausting list of ridiculous red herrings that is total deflection, because once again you are INCAPABLE of taking on one word in my post. At least you are consistently cowardly…

  4. Ok, I have now read 15 comments pointing out the obvious, that China has a human rights record that is appalling, and that has steadily grown much worse since Xi Jinping took power in 2012, by which time Apple had already developed strong ties to Chinese employees, contractors, and customers. It is universally acknowledged that this is a disaster from which Apple needs to disentangle itself as soon as possible.

    What I have not read in any of these 15 comments is a viable way of doing that other than the strategy of gradual disentanglement that the company is already pursuing.

    Civil disobedience is not a viable alternative. Apple cannot ignore Chinese law and continue to operate in China. Anybody who thinks that the Party will tolerate defiance does not understand what totalitarianism is.

    Yes, Apple can choose to simply cease operations, sell its remaining assets, and distribute the proceeds to its shareholders, as Michael Dell suggested. Cutting all the company’s ties to China cold turkey amounts to the same thing, since it would leave the company with no products to sell for several years until it can find replacement assembly capacity.

    At the manufacturing volumes that are generating the Apple earnings that are generating the Apple stock prices that you all find so wonderful, there are very few alternatives. Fully automated assembly is cost-prohibitive (if it is even possible at the volumes required) and there aren’t many places—in America or anywhere else—where you can build and fully staff three or four factories that each have over 100,000 competent workers. The attraction of China was never that labor there is cheap. It was that labor there is available in adequate numbers. It will take time to develop alternatives.

    I see that the same voices on MDN who are constantly complaining that Apple products are overpriced are the loudest in complaining that the company needs to drastically raise its cost of production or cease production entirely. This is a nasty situation, but slow and steady is more likely to win the race.

    1. “The attraction of China was never that labor there is cheap.”

      Totally FALSE. Rounding the numbers India and China both have about 1.4 billion people and Indians are intelligent people that don’t live in a Communist country. It’s 100% about cheap labor and obscene corporate profits, always has been, the reason they are also in Vietnam

      “Long before the coronavirus struck, Apple Inc.’s operations team began raising concerns about the technology giant’s dependency on China.

      Mr. Cook, who joined the company in 1998, is the architect of Apple’s China business.

      Foxconn struck deals to be one of the few manufacturers of iPods, which made its debut in 2001, and an early maker of the iPhone, which launched in 2007.

      In 2001, Apple officially entered China with a Shanghai-based trading company.

      Conditions in China challenged Apple. Suicides at Foxconn factories and reports of employees exceeding a 60-hour workweek led to criticism of the company.

      Some operations executives suggested as early as 2015 that the company relocate assembly of at least one product to Vietnam.

      Apple’s reliance on China has long frustrated staff—and more recently unnerved investors. The coronavirus represents Apple’s third major setback there in as many years, including the fallout from tensions with the U.S. that included tariffs and slower-than-expected iPhone sales in the country.

      “No executive will admit in a public forum: We should have thought about” the vulnerability to China, said Burak Kazaz, a Syracuse University supply chain professor and former researcher at International Business Machines Corp. “But from this point on, there are no excuses.”

      Though Apple’s brand remains strong in China, its share of the smartphone market has declined to 7.5% from a peak of 12.5% in 2015 because of pressure from homegrown rivals such as Huawei Technologies Co., according to Canalys, a market research firm.

      Over time, Apple, Foxconn and China formed a triangle of interdependency. Apple grew to depend on Foxconn to make devices and Chinese consumers to buy them.

      The entanglement unnerved some Apple executives, who encouraged company leaders to look outside China to minimize the risks of labor unrest or a change in Beijing’s position on Apple.

      President Trump’s policies rocked the relationship. After winning the election, Mr. Trump said in Time magazine that he told Mr. Cook that he wanted Apple “to build a great plant, your biggest and your best, even if it’s only a foot bigger than some place in China.” The administration later started levying tariffs on imports of goods made in China.

      As iPhone sales surged, Apple, Foxconn and China scrambled to meet the demand. In 2010, China took over farmland in Zhengzhou, and within months, a Foxconn factory complex was built for 250,000 workers. The government also has helped funnel workers to Foxconn, posting notices online.

      GoeB: President Trump and the U.S. are not about cheap labor standards famous in China for obscene big business corporate profits that take advantage of their citizens and the Número Uno world OFFENDER is Apple.

      Efforts to restart production in the U.S. have also hit snags. A plant that has made the niche Mac Pro desktop in Austin, Texas, since 2013 ships product only to North and South America. The models sold around the rest of the world are made in China.

      GoeB: The snag is most likely Tim Cook. Why not make make MacPros for the whole world in Austin, TX?

      Samsung isn’t subject to tariffs because it moved most of itssmartphone manufacturing out of China in recent years. It is now assembling its signature phones in Vietnam, India and South Korea.

      Tariffs imposed on headphones were a catalyst for Apple to shift manufacturing of the AirPods Pro wireless earbuds from China to Vietnam (Communist country with cheap labor), said Jeff Luo, a supply-chain analyst with Isaiah Research. He said Chinese contract manufacturers Luxshare Precision Industry Co. and GoerTek Inc. were told late last year to set up production by March at plants that should be able to make about 4 million units monthly of AirPods Pro.

      In India, Apple set up iPhone manufacturing partly to avoid the country’s 20% tax on imports. It also wanted to comply with a law requiring single-brand foreign retailers to buy at least 30% of their manufacturing materials from India.”


      GoeB: Put tariffs on iPhones and see how fast they move all iPhone production to India with a comparable population of workers, just like Samsung. If they could do it, no reason why Apple the RICHEST company in history cannot.

      “I see that the same voices on MDN who are” making excuse and apologies for Apple claiming it can’t be done. Baloney…

      1. “Why not make Mac Pros for the whole world in Austin, Texas?”

        Because critics like you would complain that they are too expensive. The profits from the China-assembled units sold to 60% of Apple’s customers cover the loss from the 40% that are made in America and are sold below cost.

        “Why not move all iPhone production to India?”

        Just to mention one factor out of several, India does not have an adequate domestic or tariff-free foreign supply of the components from which iPhones are assembled. It also has a dramatically different average educational level than China. Just because there are as many people in India as China does not mean it is as easy to hire 100,000 people with adequate skills who live within commuting distance of the plant or are willing to move there for seasonal work.

        1. I have repeatedly complained the new MacPro is too expensive when it was released?

          But that’s another deflection, what the hell does that have to do with Apple producing 100% of the world’s MacPros in Austin? Answer: Tim Cook beancounter.

          AGAIN, you are making excuses for Apple they can’t manufacture iPhones in India. They are already doing so on a smaller scale.

          If Samsung can move 100% smartphone manufacturing out of China and they sell millions more units than Apple, the wealthiest company in history cannot ADJUST and get it done?

          If President Trump changes his mind or the China leader slaps tariffs on Chinese iPhones, you will see how fast the supply chain genius will get it done…

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