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A Worm in the Apple

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Apple is a great American success story and we can say of the late Steve Jobs: You did build that. But there’s a problem with Apple in China. The Beijing government’s forced abortion policy is worming its way into the factories of Apple, Inc. Twenty-four of these factories, it is reported, have helped the Communist government’s brutal efforts to prevent so-called unauthorized births to Chinese mothers.

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.

I call on the pro-choice leaders in this country to speak out. I want to know if they will stand up for Chinese women’s rights. If they truly believe in choice and not in pushing abortion, they will be the first to lead on this critical issue.

So far, the response has not been promising. Yes, the Obama administration should be praised for helping Chen Guangcheng and his family to leave China. President Obama has been eerily silent on this moral issue. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton also seems less inclined to publicly confront the Beijing authorities over its one-child policy.

This has led Chinese rulers to think they can proceed with their barbarous one-child policy. This policy has led to the forced abortion of millions of unborn children in China, especially when pre-natal testing reveals a female child. We have reliable reports of newborn baby girls being drowned. Heart-wrenching photos have surfaced showing a Chinese mothers and her late-term baby lying dead beside her in a hospital bed following a forced abortion, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton is the leading U.S. diplomat, the most prominent American woman on the international scene. Surely, as a wife, as a mother, Hillary Clinton must care about this barbarous and cruel campaign of the male-dominated Chinese party machine.

Mr. President! Madame Secretary! Will you speak out?

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