Exiled human rights champion Chen Guangcheng is reporting on the collaboration of Apple in compulsory pregnancy testing of Apple’s Chinese employees. Chen told Bloomberg news agency that Apple should refuse to comply with such gross violations of human rights in their facilities. Chen urged Apple to take a stand for human rights—to stop the Beijing government’s cruel pursuit of young mothers. This, we know, is the real “war on women.” And it’s currently being waged with active collaboration of U.S. companies.
Chen is also calling for the release of imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Liu Xiaobo.
This whole scene is eerily similar to the campaign against the apartheid regime in South Africa of the 1970s through the 1990s. There, U.S. firms were prodded and prompted to resist the blatant discrimination of the Pretoria regime. Our own Rev. Leon Sullivan first achieved success with General Motors. Rev. Sullivan sat on the GM Board of Directors and pressed his company to refuse to go along with the gross violation of human rights and dignity implied by racial apartheid.
Out of this campaign came the famous Sullivan Principles. U.S.-based companies agreed not to engage in racial segregation and separation in their South African branches. The Sullivan Principles were an important milestone on the road to majority rule in that nation. And Rev. Sullivan also called upon the apartheid regime to release Nobel Peace Prize Winner Nelson Mandela.
The success of the Sullivan Principles mark an important precedent for non-violence and responsible corporate action in the advance of human rights. We need a renewal of these ideals now. We need them in China.
American-owned firms have global reach. Apple is a company that can set the standard.
When we read that Chinese women are being forced to undergo strip searches and, if found to be pregnant, are cajoled and bullied into aborting their children, surely all Americans must recoil.