Intel recently issued an apology letter to all its Chinese partners and customers after it said that the company would not use or endorse labour or goods sourced from the Xinjiang region in China. The statement, which was mentioned in an annual letter to suppliers, drew harsh criticism on Weibo, the China-based social network, with many netizens calling for a boycott of the chipmaker and its products.
The portion of the message has long since been deleted by Intel, but you can find the original statement archived on the Wayback Machine. Initially, the message was a subpoint to Intel’s point regarding human trafficking and involuntary labour. On that note, it is likely that the statement came after the US imposed further sanctions, specifically on Chinese companies that had or currently have a hand in the repression of the region’s Muslim Uyghurs.
Needless to say, China as a country was less than pleased with Intel’s letter, with its state-backed mouthpiece, the Global Times, accusing Intel of “biting the hand that feeds it”. Retaliation has also been somewhat swift: Karry Wang, a Chinese popstar, announced that he was severing ties with Intel and saying that “National interest exceeds everything”.
This isn’t the first instance where a US tech giant has been gang-pressed into doing China’s bidding or squashed over the mere mention of the ongoing human rights abuse in Xinjiang. Earlier in the month, it was reported that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, had signed a personal five-year agreement with the mainland back in 2016, after it was alleged that Cook and Apple weren’t contributing enough to the country.
Going back further into October, the Chinese government had somehow coerced Apple into removing several religious text apps from the China App Store.