A Chinese civil rights activist is asking Apple to criticise China for its one-child policy.

Apple is being asked to prohibit access to its factories for government family-planning officials and also to stop the factories reporting women who are pregnant without birth permits.

Blind from an early age, activist Chen Guangcheng has done much to raise awareness of human rights issues in China, as well as women’s rights and the welfare of the poor in the populous country. You may be aware that earlier this year he escaped house arrest and his family left Beijing for New York City. This is the first time Chen has spoken out about the issue of China’s forced birth-control policy since moving to the US. It was this issue that led to his arrest and jail term in China.

He is hoping that due to Apple’s influence in the country, where it manufactures products like the iPad and iPhone, and the popularity of those products in China, Apple will be able to draw attention to the issue, writes Bloomberg.

Chen said: “Apple in China should take a very active role. There’s a huge social responsibility for these international corporations like Apple.”

Chen is hoping to arrange a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook to discuss the issue. He and other human rights activists sent a letter to Cook last week requesting that Apple adopt measures to end coercive family planning practices in its factories, according to Bloomberg’s report.

Apple revealed in a recent corporate responsibility report that 24 of its facilities in China conducted pregnancy tests of female workers and 54 facilities didn’t prohibit discriminatory practices based on pregnancy. In the document, Apple revealed that it classifies these practices as discrimination, despite local laws favouring them, and claimed it would stop doing business with suppliers who can’t meet its code of conduct.

The one-child policy was introduced in the late 1970s and restricts most married couples from having more than one child. Employers in China are required to play a role in family planning and accept government supervision, according to Bloomberg’s report.

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