Ahead of Apple Inc.s annual meeting on February 28, National Legal and Policy Center is highlighting a report it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that explains how the iPhone makers claims about its respect for human rights fall far short of its real-world engagements and operations.
NLPC, a shareholder in Apple, is sponsoring a proposal (No. 8 on Page 97 of the companys proxy statement) that asks the company to explain why its actions fail repeatedly to match its statements and policies regarding human rights, especially considering its ongoing pandering to the government of China. The SEC filing builds on the case made in the proposal, with extensive evidence of Apples concern for cheap labor and enormous profits, at the expense of the people who buy and make its products under the brutal communist regime.
Over the past ten years, various shareholders have brought at least six different proposals at Apple annual meetings because of its weaknesses when it comes to protecting human rights, said Paul Chesser, director of NLPCs Corporate Integrity Project. Why does the Board of Directors have to keep addressing this issue? Because they only pay lip service to it, while their Chinese government business partners constantly violate standards of respect and decency. The U.S. State Department actually calls it genocide.
- Apple removed the New York Timess apps from the App Store in China in 2017, and removed apps including HKmap.live and Quartz from its offerings, during the protests in Hong Kong in 2019;
- The company severely restricted use of its AirDrop wireless filesharing feature on users iPhones during protests against Chairman Xi Jinpings zero COVID policies in late 2022;
- The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice said in January 2024 that it had cracked Apples encryption and was able to track senders. According to The Epoch Times, That allows local police to find several suspects who use the iPhone feature to transmit files containing what authorities have referred to as inappropriate remarks, according to the agency;
- According to Reuters, Apple has started requiring new apps to show proof of a Chinese government license before their release on its China App Store, joining local rivals that had adopted the policy years earlier to meet tightening state regulations.
Perhaps most telling, the tech giant lobbied against the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act when it was up for consideration in Congress.
Apple wants to avoid this embarrassing issue so badly, that the Board asked the SEC to prevent our proposal from being heard by our fellow shareholders, by claiming that they were already addressing the issue, Chesser added. Fortunately even under a presidential administration cozy with both Big Tech and China the SEC staff followed the facts instead of political bias, and decided to allow our proposal at the annual meeting.
We look forward to explaining to our fellow shareholders why Apples carelessness over human rights presents fiduciary and reputational risks to the company.
For more information or to schedule an interview with Paul Chesser, contact Dan Rene at 202-329-8357 or email@example.com.
Please visit http://www.nlpc.org.
Founded in 1991, the National Legal and Policy Center promotes ethics in public life through research, investigation, education and legal action.
National Legal and Policy Center
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