Intel apologizes for speech about forced labor in Xinjiang

Intel learns firsthand about the challenges of satisfying its home country and China. New York times Intel has reportedly apologized on Chinese social networks after it sent a letter to local suppliers saying it would not use labor and products from Xinjiang. The company said it respected US sanctions against the territory, and did not set out a political view as suggested by social media users, celebrities and the national press.

The United States implemented sanctions after widespread allegations that the Chinese government was suppressing the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang. Many have accused China of human rights abuses including forced labor, concentration camps, and constant surveillance. China has long denied these allegations. Intel may have played a role in these abuses, as its chips were used both in the supercomputer center geared for espionage and in surveillance systems that were acquired by police despite a ban list preventing access to US technology. Intel said it was not aware that China was misusing its hardware.

The hype underscores the juggling work that Intel, Apple and other US tech companies maintain when operating in China. They have to respect US sanctions (as Intel will continue to do here) and often want to be seen embracing American notions of civil and human rights, but they also risk losing a major source of revenue if they antagonize a Chinese government eager to silence criticism. . The companies removed features, moved data storage and made other exceptions to keep their business in China. Intel won’t necessarily be pushed to make a decision after the message, but it clearly doesn’t have much leeway in such situations.

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