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Foxconn reopens rioting plant

by on25 September 2012

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Bugs Bunny said to be the culprit

Well, not really Bugs Bunny of course, but given Foxconn's history of mistreating its workers and playing dumb about it, we wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it blamed it on fictional characters. Heck, Apple's confirmation would get them some serious support anyways.

Anyhow, Foxconn's plant in northern Chinese city of Taiyuan resumed production, after being closed for a day over a mass brawl. The official story first talked about a brawl between workers, but the company spokesperson seems to have contradicted this by saying that investigation is still ongoing.

The company said the riots were 2,000 strong while state-owned media says 5,000 police officers were dispatched in response. These, along with 40 injured persons and plenty of damage to the factory, are pretty much the only things that can be confirmed.

Foxconn’s story was that workers from Shandong province started a fight with their colleagues from the Henan province. It claims the fight subsequently escalated into a brawl, prompting the police reaction.

However, unofficial reports claimed that the riots started after guards beat up a worker. A user on the country’s microblog site Sina Weibo claimed that four or five guards nearly beat a worker to death.  

Another post claimed two workers from the Henan province were beaten up, causing others to set bed quilts on fire and throw them out the dorm windows. The posts, coupled with some photos, have since been censored, which is a nice way of saying a sock was shoved down people’s throats.

Foxconn's spokesperson Louis Woo conceded that guards who took part in the brawl are contractors whose attitude was not too good, but did not really confirm the brawl was their doing. In fact, Reuters says that its own reporter was roughed up by guards in front of the factory.

The plant reportedly does magnesium alloy-based parts for mobile phones and cars, LED lighting and heat conduction products. Some reports claimed it processed the back casing for Apple’s iPhone 5 and spoke of a combination of strict management and serious over-time work. Li Qiang, of the New York-based China Labor Watch, said the whole Apple production chain has problems, as the company has sudden launches that quickly result in shortages and in turn "place extreme pressures on workers."

The same plant was hit by a strike back in March after the company’s promise of pay rise turned out false. Somehow, it seems the company would've preferred the workers who jumped off of roofs, but do not doubt that Bugs Bunny will answer for his misdeeds. And good job with inspections Apple but the next time profits outweigh human life, I’d at least appreciate an honest mail about it.

Last modified on 25 September 2012
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