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Monday, June 7, 2010

Unexplained Suicides at Apple Inc. Factory in China

Record suicides have plagued Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer whose products include iPhones and Nintendo, raising fears that work conditions at the facility are substandard.

Protestors from SACOM (Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior) burn effigies of Apple iPhones near the offices of Foxconn in Hong Kong on May 25. The founder of Foxconn Group on Monday broke his silence over a string of suicides by its employees. (Mike Clarke/Getty Images)
Picture is (C) copyright to Epoch Time

To date, 10 workers have committed suicide and three others were injured in unsuccessful attempts. The most recent Foxconn employee jumped to his death on May 26.

The suicides have stirred controversy and speculation over issues that go beyond work conditions.

In a recent article published in New Epoch Weekly, Taiwanese attorney Winifred Tung pointed out that in the case of the ninth suicide, the woman who allegedly jumped from a building had been stabbed four times, and a knife was found at the scene.

Tung questioned if this alleged suicide was actually “suicide” and if the other cases might have involved foul play.

Reports by Chinese media also revealed that Foxconn admitted to making workers do 80 hours extra of overtime per month, while the local labor laws only permits 36 hours.

However, following the claims Foxconn sued Wang You and Weng Bao of China Business News, the journalists responsible for revealing these practices, for $3.8 million and filed a successful court ruling to have the journalists' assets frozen.
International pressure from Reporters Without Borders and inquiries from Apple Inc. itself later pushed Foxconn to reduce the demand to a symbolic 1 yuan ($US 0.12) and withdraw the request to freeze the journalists' assets.

The Taiwan-based Foxconn has two factories in China—one in Shenzhen and the other in Longhua, both north of Hong Kong.

[Click here for full source]


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