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Hawley Pens Letter To Apple Investigating Chinese Communist Party Ties

The Missouri Senator Said The Company's Continued Dependency On Chinese Labor Undermined The Interests Of The American Economy And Workers

In a Tuesday letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley criticized the company’s business practices in relationship to the Chinese Communist Party requesting Cook respond to further inquiry or face “remedial legislation.”

“Your continued dependency on Chinese labor not only undermines the interests of the American economy and its workers, but has once again led your company to crack down on speech at the Chinese Communist Party’s behest,” wrote Hawley. “Apple’s activities in China are unconscionable and present substantial material risks to your stakeholders.”

He added: “I urge you to take meaningful steps to end operations in China and to reshore production to the United States.”

“Since Apple makes more than 95 percent of its iPhones in China, these disruptions pose material risks to Apple’s stakeholders,” Hawley wrote in reference to recent protests by Chinese citizens in Beijing, Shanghai, and Urumqi resulting from the nation’s “zero-COVID” policy. “Your company appears to be actively supporting the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown. … [Apple] has modified the AirDrop function to make it more difficult for protestors to use this function to evade censorship and surveillance.”

“Unconscionable though this decision may be, it is not surprising: under your leadership, Apple has time and again assisted the Chinese Communist Party in surveilling and suppressing the basic human rights of the Chinese people.”

The Missouri Senator further suggested the tech giant was implementing the Chinese Communist Party’s model of speech suppression in the United States following reports that Apple may remove Twitter from the company’s App Store in response to new Twitter owner Elon Musk’s changes to the platform. Hawley also criticized Apple’s strategy of outsourcing production to China, citing the move yielded short-term profits for the company and shareholders amid “intensifying geopolitical tensions.”

Hawley provided a list of questions for Apple which the Senator urged the company to respond to by Dec. 6 before “remedial legislation” was considered, including inquiry into why Apple has not “condemned the treatment of workers who manufacture its products in China” along with a detail of material risks associated with the company’s continued dependency on Chinese manufacturing of their products.

Apple is further tasked with responding to the potential invasion of Taiwan by China and it’s impact on the company’s ability to manufacture and sell their products. Hawley also requested Apple detail their plans to “diversify” their supply chain and production networks. Finally, the Missouri Senator requested the company respond to the modification and communication between Apple and the Chinese Communist Party regarding their AirDrop feature in the iOS 16.1.1 update.

New Twitter owner Elon Musk has recently expressed interest in Apple’s involvement in censorship regarding Twitter. On Monday, Musk posted a poll asking users to vote whether Apple should publish all censorship actions the company has employed affecting users.

“Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why,” said Musk on Monday.

“This would be the most raw exercise of monopoly power in a century, and no civilized country should allow it,” said Ohio Senator-elect J.D. Vance.

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