What Would Happen if Corporations Opposed China’s One-Child Policy?

We live in a morally truncated world. We’ve been very carefully taught that economics, business and just about everything involved with the multi-national corporations who are controlling our government are morality-free zones.

It’s as if the Gospels stop at the doorways of corporate board rooms. 

We have no trouble laying the heavy hand of our moral judgements on things like how some little old lady casts her vote, but we can’t seem to wrap our minds around the idea that corporate policies that kill, maim and enslave millions of innocent people might be subject to moral demands as well.

This laxity of moral teaching leads to terrible things. When the churches, as so many of them do, twist the Scriptures to provide dishonest and morally bankrupt moral cover for multi-national corporations, then it makes saner people question if the Scriptures actually mean anything.

I want to ask a simple question: What would happen if the American corporations who have exported America’s industrial base to China made a stand against China’s vicious one-child policy?

That’s the challenge Chen Guangcheng, the blind anti-one-child policy activist who recently came to America gave to Apple Corporation.

A September 14 Baptist Press article quotes him as saying, “Apple in China should take a very active role,” said Chen Guangcheng, the blind lawyer who brought a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Chinese women forced to have abortions or sterilizations, according to Bloomberg News. “There’s a huge social responsibility for these international corporations like Apple.”

Well. Duh. Multi-national corporations have moral responsibilities. I think it’s interesting that it took a heroic Christian who had suffered persecution in China to finally say this. But I thank God that somebody finally did.

The article says in part:

WASHINGTON (BP) — Apple, creator of the iPhone and iPad, could help bring an end to China’s coercive population control program, a leading Chinese opponent of the policy is contending.

“Apple in China should take a very active role,” said Chen Guangcheng, the blind lawyer who brought a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Chinese women forced to have abortions or sterilizations, according to Bloomberg News. “There’s a huge social responsibility for these international corporations like Apple.”

Chen and other human rights advocates sent a letter to Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive officer, asking for a meeting and urging the firm to halt coercive population control polices in its plants. Among other recommendations, they urged Apple to bar Chinese family planning authorities from access to its factories and to decline to report to the government pregnant women who do not have birth permits, Bloomberg reported Sept. 6.

“Apple is in a unique position to take a leadership role in standing up against coercive family planning in China,” Chen and the others said in the letter.

Apple’s latest yearly corporate responsibility report showed 24 of its factories it inspected performed pregnancy tests on female employees and 56 of its plants had no protocols to prevent discriminatory practices against pregnant women. The suppliers had halted screenings, Apple said, and it will terminate its relationship with facilities that are discriminatory, according to Bloomberg.

The human rights advocates also are asking other corporations, including Cisco Systems Inc., to call on China to end its coercive policy. They are targeting Apple first because it is the world’s leading technology firm and the largest corporation by market value, a spokesman told Bloomberg.

China’s population control program — known as the one-child policy and instituted officially in 1980 — generally limits couples in urban areas to one child and those in rural areas to two, if the first is a girl. Parents in cities may have second babies if the husband and wife are both only children. (Read more here.)


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