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Tue Sep 25, 2012, 01:26 PM

Riot at Foxconn Factory Underscores Rift in China

SHANGHAI — The images and video began to appear on Chinese social networking sites early Monday: buildings with shattered windows, overturned police cars, huge crowds of young people milling about in the dark and riot police in formation.

The online postings were from a disturbance late Sunday that shut down a manufacturing facility in Taiyuan in north China, where 79,000 workers were employed.

State-run news media said 5,000 police officers had to be called in to quell a riot that began as a dispute involving a group of workers and security guards at a factory dormitory.

The unrest was noteworthy because the factory site is managed by Foxconn Technology, one of the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers and an important supplier to companies like Apple, Dell, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.


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Reply Riot at Foxconn Factory Underscores Rift in China (Original post)
groovedaddy Sep 2012 OP
PopeOxycontinI Sep 2012 #1
BlueToTheBone Sep 2012 #2

Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Wed Sep 26, 2012, 12:00 AM

1. I'm pretty sure...

The republicans are looking at this and figuring out how the social
control of the foxconn owners was insufficient, they want unprecedented
oppression that unprecdentedly fails to trigger revolt.

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Wed Sep 26, 2012, 10:07 AM

2. It's not just an Apple problem says New Yorker

The melee has been chalked up to several possible causes: Foxconn says it “appears not to have been work-related” though that’s a bit of a semantic dodge when the workers live together in dormitories and rarely have reason to leave the workplace. Online reports—which should be treated with skepticism until better sources turn up—suggest that it was triggered by guards who beat up a worker. In either case, as one worker put it to the Times, “I think the real reason is they were frustrated with life.”

If Chinese factory workers are feeling frustrated with life, that is likely to get worse before it gets better, as the economy faces a volatile period captured in an August story in Southern Weekend headlined “The First Layoff in the Last Ten Years.”

The riot at Foxconn—or any of the other five hundred “mass incidents” that China records on an average day—has implications far beyond Apple. Labor activists say that they are happening more often this year than last. A little over a week ago, six thousand workers at a Flextronics Technology factory in Shanghai went on strike for severance pay. In June, it was a hundred workers in a mini-uproar at another Foxconn plant. They are no longer simply calling for better wages. “Many of the protests this year appear to be related to the country’s economic slowdown, as employees demand the payment of overdue wages from financially struggling companies, or insist on compensation when money-losing factories in coastal provinces are closed and moved to lower-cost cities in the interior,” as the Times put it.

The economic slowdown puts a twist into the Apple-in-China saga that has been unfolding over several years. When the performer Mike Daisey, earlier this year, was found to have lied about conditions at Foxconn—in order to punch up his sweatshop story—his mistake was not only lying; he also misunderstood the contours of the story. Chinese factory workers are not the naïfs he imagined; they are, in fact, more aware every day of their rights and are frustrated by the absence of institutions through which to lobby for them. Ever since a rash of suicides at its plants, Foxconn and Apple worked with fair-labor advisors to cut employees’ hours and improve conditions. There was abundant room to improve: by most accounts, twenty workers were living in a three-bedroom apartment; the meal allowance was sixty-five cents in 2010, and a twenty-two-year-old college graduate at the Chengdu plant was earning twenty-two dollars a day.

here's the whole article

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