The Uyghur genocide is the collective term for ongoing human rights violations in the Xinjiang region in China since 2014, where the Chinese Communist Party has been forcing Uyghur Muslims into labor camps, disregarding any legal processes and maintaining general secrecy about their treatment of the illegal prisoners. Among other things, the horrors endured by the Uyghur include forced sterilization alongside the abuse and forced detainment.
The apps in question have been developed by various divisions of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the paramilitary group overseeing the Xinjiang region. The group has been blacklisted in the U.S. already, with American companies strictly banned from working with Xinjiang Production, Construction Corps and related organizations.
Just a day before the accusation, Facebook discovered and blocked Chinese-based hackers—possibly these same Xinjiang developers—from an attempt to infect Uyghur Muslims living abroad with illegal surveillance bugs, CNBC reported.
Apple's nonchalance doesn't come as a surprise, as the company has been batting more than one blind eye lately to stay in China's good graces. Money has always been the driver behind everything in the big tech, and Apple has been enjoying sky-high sales of the iPhone 12 in China lately.
As the revelation on Apple gains traction on the media, the tech giant may eventually be pressured enough to remove the associated apps from the App Store. Apple's only comment following the discovery was that the apps are in compliance with U.S. law and are not in violation of the blacklist. The hesitation is hardly surprising, as other Western companies standing up to the Xinjiang horrors have been facing serious retaliation from the CCP.
H&M, for one, was just dealt a huge blow by the Chinese government when it chose to stop sourcing cotton from the Xinjiang region, where over a million Uyghur Muslims have been put to forced labor—primarily cotton production. Enraged, China responded to H&M's decision this Thursday by erasing every H&M location from from all map applications (including Apple and Google Maps), as well as wiping it from e-commerce, ride-hailing, or daily-deals apps. If you try to search for an H&M store on your phone in China, you won't find anything; it is as if the chain has disappeared from the country overnight.