The Information reports that Apple’s App Store hosts apps from a blacklisted Chinese paramilitary group responsible for the Uyghur Muslims genocide in Xinjiang, China. Developed by Xingjiang Production and Construction Corps, more than a dozen apps offer news, information on government services, transportation, home repair, and other services. This group is sanctioned by the U.S for human rights violations.
This is not the first time Apple is in the news over China’s human rights violations, especially Uyghur Muslims. Recently, OFilm announced that it had lost a U.S client, presumably Apple, over forced labor violations and the company is gradually shifting its iPhone and iPad production to Vietnam and India. However, the Cupertino tech giant is accused of showing leniency to Chinese manufacturing partners involved in labor exploitation; Lens Technology was accused of exploiting Uyghur Muslims forced labor in China, and the company’s Human Rights policy 2020 failed to hold international human rights violators accountable.
Apps sponsored by blacklisted Chinese organization found on Apple’s App Store
Recently, Apple removed 39,000 apps from the Chinese App Store for lacking the local regulator’s official license. This action gave the impression that the Cupertino tech giant was trying to please Chinese regulators as it demands on Chinese suppliers to maintain its dominance in the region. And now blacklisted government organizations apps are found on App Store which are used as a tool to monitor and detain defectors and minorities, especially Uyghur Muslims. The report explains:
The apps, which provide news, offer information about government services and help small businesses manage orders for e-commerce, ride hailing and home repairs, were created by various units of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a paramilitary organization in charge of the region’s economy and security.
Several Western governments and human rights groups have accused the Corps and the regional government of detaining and physically abusing or sterilizing up to 2 million Uyghurs, the ethnically Turkic residents of northwestern China. Chinese officials have repeatedly denied the allegations.
In 2018, Apple blocked its App Store in Iran to comply with U.S laws but in China’s case, the company is slow to take any punitive actions and it seems to do the opposite. Apple Maps in China removed Swedish retailer H&M stores after the company announced that it will not source cotton from Xinjiang due to Uyghur Muslims forced labor allegations.