Apple's Chinese wind power partner linked to Uyghur forced labor programs

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A wind farm company in China that has partnered with Apple has allegedly been linked to the use of forced labor of Uyghurs from the Xinjiang region, increasing the number of companies said to be involved with the repression.

A report in May claimed a group of seven suppliers involved in the Apple supply chain were participants in labor programs thought to be connected to the Chinese genocide of Xinjiang Uyghurs. In a second report on Tuesday, it seems one more company has been added to the list.

Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology is a major manufacturer of wind turbines, has been accused of taking advantage of the labor programs. The investigation by the Tech Transparency Project into the relatively secretive operations of the producer uncovered supposed evidence from local government posts in 2016 that a factory in Xinjiang was in talks to receive "labor export" from Hotan Prefecture, 500 miles away from the factory.

It is unknown if there was a transfer of workers, as government accounts were deleted, but other items raised similar questions. For example, Goldwind founder and chairman Wu Gang had allegedly took part in a Chinese government campaign promoting ideological education of Xinjiang Uyghurs.

Goldwind has also apparently worked with a paramilitary organization sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2020 over a "connection to serious human rights abuse against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang." Goldwind is said to have made an agreement with the firm in December 2020, following the announcement of U.S. sanctions.

In 2016, Apple made a deal with Goldwind to work on renewable energy projects, which includes a quartet of wind farm joint ventures. The projects are part of Apple's work to make its supply chain in China carbon neutral by 2030.

Two years later, Apple established the $300 million China Clean Energy Fund, to further develop solar and wind projects in the country. It is unknown if any of that funding was paid to Goldwind.

The report surfaces at the same time as another, accusing firms in Apple's supply chain of using discriminatory language in job advertisements to warn minorities from applying for production line roles.

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