Apple Computer Inc. said in an AP report that it was working to resolve a dispute over alleged labor abuses by an iPod manufacturer in China.
Hongfujin Precision Industry Co., a major exporter owned by a Taiwanese company, filed a defamation lawsuit against two journalists at the state-run newspaper China Business News who ran stories alleging that workers on iPod assembly lines worked under harsh conditions for low pay.
According to local media reports, the Shenzhen Intermediate Court, in the southern export hub of Shenzhen, accepted the case on July 10 and froze the personal assets of the two journalists, Wang You and editor Weng Bao, of the Shanghai-based paper.
Chinese media and a journalists' advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, have criticized the move and urged Apple, which has vowed to ensure fair treatment of workers at its suppliers, to intercede.
"Apple is working behind the scenes to help resolve this issue," an Apple spokesman, Jill Tan, said. She said she could not comment further.
Apple's iconic iPod players are made abroad, mainly in China. The Cupertino, CA-based company has sold more than 50 million iPods since the product debuted in 2001.
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