Did forced Uyghur labour make our Nokia phones? 😲

Hi all, Yes, that's a provocative discussion title! Is it an interesting question? Maybe you never really thought about it before.

Did forced Uyghur labour make our Nokia phones? 😲

madbilly madbilly
Super User  / 

Hi all,

Yes, that's a provocative discussion title! Is it an interesting question? Maybe you never really thought about it before. Honestly, I don't know the answer to the question in the title, but here's what I learnt from my investigations.

This issue was reported a month or so ago but I think it went largely unnoticed to the growing significance of the coronavirus pandemic. Research was done by an Australian NGO and it revealed that there are some factories in China where, allegedly, people from the Uyghur minority ethnic group there are forced to work as part of their "re-education". There's a whole load of background information to this which I won't repeat or summarise I'll just give you the links to the report:

As you read through you will notice the names of some companies you might recognise: Foxconn and Nokia. Oh! 😳 Note however that HMD Global is not specifically listed, however the report discusses brands as well as vendors, so referring to Nokia could be considered to include HMD. There are also other brands you will probably recognise but I won't give them the benefit of the advertising here 😉

There's a huge and complex supply chain involved in the manufacture of any modern consumer electronics smartphone and smartphones have one of the most complex, so it may not be practicable to ever know the answer to the question "Did forced Uyghur labour make our Nokia phones?" Yet if you dig deeper you will see that the report identifies factories which make various components for smartphones, and whilst the report does not explicitly say that these components are used in Nokia phones we can imagine that some of these components could have easily ended up in our phones.

HMD themselves have a very clear stance on forced labour which is explained in their "UK Modern Slavery statement":

I feel fairly sure that if HMD did discover that anyone in their supply chain was being forced to work that they will have some severe penalties in their contracts with their suppliers. Their modern slavery statement does say that:

We are committed to report on our findings and we endeavour to tackle this issue transparently.

So, it would be great if HMD could start this transparent reporting now and tell us if forced Uyghur labour did make our Nokia phones, or not.

And just to finish off the post, here's a couple of videos from my other favourite phone maker:

FYI, the living wage bonus referenced is €1.50 per phone. That's all, it seems like a tiny amount to pay extra for a smartphone to make sure that the people making it earn a decent income.

Cheers 🙂

Comments

  • Any updates on this?

    If this dates from before the takeover, which models were produced in these conditions, and which weren't?

  • I don't think HMD will respond to this post. They would have if there were market to lose on not responding to this issue. But the area they are selling their phones have little risk of that happening so they probably won't care. Not to mention their history not being talkative with customers.

  • Muser Muser
    ✭✭✭  / 

    It would be good to get some updates on this, I think almost every major tech company has been implicated in this.

    HMD also does manufacturing in Vietnam and India, it would be nice to get a breakdown of which devices and components get manufactured in these countries.

  • Van Thieu Van Thieu
    ✭✭  / 

    There are a lot of anti-china rhetoric going around on the internet. It's the same tactics used by German **** Reich Minister of Propaganda, Paul Joseph Goebbels, during World War II. Repeat the same information over and over until people starts believing that a specific ethinicity or group is responsible for something unfortunate. Let's not repeat history. Besides, majority of the phones are produced in Shenzhen, China; Vietnam; India. West China is mainly for farming and agriculture, all the technologies are in Eastern China.

  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 

    Hi Van,

    In the case of this report about forced labour I don't think it's rhetoric, it's backed by evidence. Rhetoric is just people saying stuff to make themselves sound tough, but this NGO has no teeth, there's no point in it sounding tough.

    Cheers 🙂

  • Why even bother asking, I say?

    The dishonest and deceitful members of HMD Global will lie straight to your face - not unlike a nasty and abusive Communist official.

    I'm done with these clowns!

  • The Molecular Man The Molecular Man
    ✭✭  /  edited April 27

    Actually 'Van', the CCP are the moderan 'Chinazis'

    Sorry if you hadn't figured that out yet.

    Go stick your head further up your ignorant.

  • The Molecular Man The Molecular Man
    ✭✭  /  edited April 27

    And it's not 'ANTI-CHINA' rhetoric, pal.

    It's anti-CCP sentiment. To the max.

    Go on and collect your 0.5 yuan. You've earned it.

    And while you're at it, go yourself.

  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 

    Hi all,

    It's great to have a debate but let's debate the topic, not the participants. Please refrain from making rude remarks about other forum users and do not evade the swear filter. I edited some posts above to remove such things.

    I agree with @The Molecular Man that it's not anti-China sentiment but it is anti-Chinese government sentiment.

    As for HMD, I think there are a lot of good people there and they too will be horrified to think that forced labour could be used to manufacture their phones in any way. But whether or not HMD would make any statement on this publicly is another matter - I suspect that they wouldn't.

    Cheers 🙂

  • The Molecular Man The Molecular Man
    ✭✭  / 

    Fair. Enough.

    See you all after the war ✌️

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