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Public Inquiry
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Another Scandal from Apple's Chinese Production - iPhone 5: Built on Slavery as Students forced to work for Foxconn

category international | worker & community struggles and protests | other press author Wednesday September 12, 2012 02:05author by T - RINF News Report this post to the editors

iPhone maker Chinese Foxconn has been accused of using slavery-like tactics by forcing thousands of underage students to work at the company’s production plant in East China. The school was closed and students were driven to the factory so that they could ramp up production.
The iPhone 5 -Produced on the backs of exploited Chinese workers
The iPhone 5 -Produced on the backs of exploited Chinese workers

The company failed to recruit the number of employees required, approximately 10,000, to make USB cables for the much anticipated iPhone 5.

Although Foxconn have invested over $210 million in new production lines, it is despicable that students are being forced to take time away from their education, while being paid just $243.97 a month for working 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week and being forced to work overtime if they fail to complete daily tasks.

The company has defended itself by claiming that students are free to leave the factory, but some schools have temporarily closed to enable the factory to ramp-up production of the iPhone 5.

In a desperate PR move, Foxconn have also highlighted a Fair Labor Association audit that found “no evidence that any interns were pressured to participate.”

However, the audit was conducted in March, before these students were taken to the plant, and the report still found “serious and pressing” violations of Chinese labor laws.

Around 200 students from one school, the Huaiyin Institute of Technology, were driven to the factory without the knowledge or consent of students or parents, allegedly under order from the authorities.

According to China Daily, one parent, Wang Yang, said “I don’t mind if my daughter finds a part-time job during the summer vacation, but spending school hours on such nonsense is a waste of time.”

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author by fredpublication date Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

more of the usual anti china propaganda.

US wonks are seeding this stuff wholesale on the web, meanwhile their military buildup in the pacific region continues.

Perhaps while we are talking child exploitation we should also mention, for example, the disgusting sweatshops run by the likes of US corporation NIKE in enclaves in indonesia? Most of the children there will NEVER get to see the inside of a school, often sitting under benches as their teenage mothers slave 16 hour days for a pittance, and NIKE monitor their times producing each shoe / part down to 100ths of a second. Often setting ridiculous targets. Nice!

See "the new rulers of the world" by John Pilger for some more details. Naomi Klien writes of this too.

Sure, the treatment of workers for US corporations that outsource cheap labour in China often sucks. But they don't stand out all that much from most of the rest of the world on that score.

If the writer REALLY cared, they might instead address the root of this problem, i.e. globalisation, trans national corporations and the race to the bottom as a whole, rather than just cheap China bashing.

The fact is, they are all at it, no point singling out those based in China unless of course it's just geopolitical point scoring on the backs of exploited children. Which is in very poor taste if you ask me!!

author by JoeMcpublication date Wed Sep 12, 2012 13:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The story originates in the Chinese english language newspaper ,China Daily,whereas the privately-owned company criticized in the article, Foxxcon, is based in Taiwan . According to the China Daily report , Foxxcon recruited the unpaid internees to fulfill orders for the "approaching launch of Apple's new handset" .

author by Damien M - PWpublication date Thu Sep 13, 2012 17:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bashing those who bash China for not bashing Indonesian sweatshops seems to me bashing... I mean passing the buck.

Maybe the writer should be tackling the arms trade, environmental pollution, global governance, world poverty etc and not picking on Pow Chinawww..

Sweatshops are scandalous whether they are in Foxxconn City, Chinawww or Indonesia!

author by fredpublication date Thu Sep 13, 2012 22:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and try reading the whole comment before posting your "critique" next time Damien.

author by JoeMcpublication date Mon Sep 24, 2012 13:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Reuters reports today that Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group closed one of its plants in the northern Chinese city of Taiyuan.over the weekend following a "brawl" that involved about 2,000 workers at a company dormitory .
Foxconn seems anxious to present the unrest at the plant to “a personal row that blew up into a brawl” , but messages on a Twitter-like site say that the beating of workers by factory security guards started the unrest.

“Pictures from just outside the plant and provided to Reuters showed broken windows at a building by an entrance gate and a line of olive-colored paramilitary police trucks parked inside the factory grounds.”

author by Chestnut - Justicepublication date Mon Sep 24, 2012 13:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Slavery and plantation owners in another century and today it is called outsourcing component parts to other third world countries. Some argue it is all for the sake of progress. Foxconn is said to have 78,000 employees - imagine exactly what this must be like on the work floors.

People have a say. Apple and the launch of latest phone - should stimulate us to be conscious as to what standards of Labour are demanded by corporates and put pressure on them to change policies.

We need to believe in equality and people. We need companies to heed 'Corporate Social Responsibility' in earnest.


author by JoeMcpublication date Tue Sep 25, 2012 09:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some background to the recent strike here:

author by Brinpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 13:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

WSWS article on FOXCONN.

Protests and strikes by thousands of Chinese workers against the oppressive conditions in the huge sweatshops operated by the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, Foxconn, have raised important issues for the international working class.

The latest strike on Friday at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou complex was the product of the deepening global economic breakdown. For Apple, its future depends on a successful launch of the iPhone5. Its exacting demands to increase production and quality are passed on to Foxconn workers in the form of long hours, harsh discipline and constant pressure for speed-up. Tensions boiled over last week after the imposition of new quality control procedures provoked arguments, threats and physical violence against the quality inspectors supervising the regime.

The unbearable conditions at Foxconn parallel those that fuelled the recent militant strikes by South African miners and Bangladeshi garment workers. These are part of the reemergence of the class struggle internationally that began with the upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt last year. The ongoing mass protests and strikes in Europe, and the eruption of major working class struggles in America, such as the Chicago teachers’ strike, have the same basic source—the attempt by the financial elites to impose the burden of the deepening global crisis onto the working class.

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author by Tpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 14:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

China Labor Watch released the following press release on Oct 5th about the strike which the rest of the mainstream media seems to be trying to deny.

Update:3000 to 4000 workers strike at Foxconn’s China factory

China Labor Watch

October 5, 2012


Workers for Fxoconn ZhengZhou

Photograph: Ye Fudao/worker for Foxconn ZhengZhou

(New York) China Labor Watch (CLW) announced that at 1:00PM on October 5 (Beijing time), a strike occurred at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory that, according to workers, involved three to four thousand production workers. In addition to demanding that workers work during the holiday, Foxconn raised overly strict demands on product quality without providing worker training for the corresponding skills. This led to workers turning out products that did not meet standards and ultimately put a tremendous amount of pressure on workers. Additionally, quality control inspectors fell into to conflicts with workers and were beat up multiple times by workers. Factory management turned a deaf ear to complaints about these conflicts and took no corrective measures. The result of both of these circumstances was a widespread work stoppage on the factory floor among workers and inspectors.

The majority of workers who participated in this strike were workers from the OQC (onsite quality control) line. According to workers, multiple iPhone 5 production lines from various factory buildings were in a state of paralysis for the entire day. It was reported that factory management and Apple, despite design defects, raised strict quality demands on workers, including indentations standards of 0.02mm and demands related to scratches on frames and back covers. With such demands, employees could not even turn out iPhones that met the standard. This led to a tremendous amount of pressure on workers. On top of this, they were not permitted to have a vacation during the holiday. This combination of factors led to the strike.

That quality control inspectors would also strike is of no surprise. According to workers, there was a fight between workers and quality control inspectors in area K that led to the damage in inspection room CA, the injury of some people, and the hospitalization of others. After this, another similar incident occurred in area K, once again leading to quality control inspectors getting beat up. Yesterday, inspectors in area L received physical threats. When inspectors reported these issues to factory management, the management simply ignored and turned their back on the issue. For these reasons, all day and night shift inspectors carried out a work stoppage today that paralyzed the production lines.

CLW Executive Director Li Qiang said, “This strike is a result of the fact that these workers just have too much pressure.”

Foxconn workers line up military style before work.
Foxconn workers line up military style before work.

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author by fredpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 16:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This situation is of course terrible, but it is important to remember a few things:

(1) Apple, which is an american corporation, is ultimately driving all this worker pressure, cynically keeping its own hands looking clean by knowingly outsourcing the rather profitable worker exploitation part to foxconn

(2) This problem is not unique to American corporate outsourced manufacturing located in China. This kind of pressure and unreasonable expectation for low pay is commonplace among other american corporate manufacturing companies such as NIKE in their protected enclaves in Indonesia for example., where their workers productivity time is monitored down to to 100ths of a second. Thats a constant pressure over a 16 hour day for the often underage mothers working on their factory floors. The fact is this flagrant disregard for the rights of workers to increase profit margins if they can get away with it is intrinsic to the US corporate greed ethos.

(3) The US are under threat from Chinese economic success and currently US policy wonks will jump on anything they can use to (hypocritically) undermine the Chinese with at the moment. Note the recent spat over solar panels for instance.

China is not a good place to work but this kind of corporate bad behaviour is by no means limited to China. It is everywhere they can get away with it. Soon it will be here when they have completely eviscerated our economy, workers rights, public medical care and our social safety nets. We will then be just another profitable pool of hungry, homeless and desperate cheap labour.

But for now they are turning up the heat slowly on the green Irish frogs.

Meanwhile, by all means highlight this issue but don't fall into the trap of doing the dirty work of imperialism and over emphasising China and other geopolitical foes of imperialism. Trans national corporations, government co-option and globalisation are behind this disgusting race to the bottom. And it's ugly influences are everywhere including here.

author by W. Finnertypublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 17:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Reply to" fred" at Fri Oct 12, 2012 16:32

RE: "We will then be just another profitable pool of hungry, homeless and desperate cheap labour."

We most certainly will (in my opinion) if we -- as the citizens of a completely independent and sovereign nation State (namely the Republic of Ireland) keep on allowing our grossly corrupt legal profession -- headed by our grossly corrupt Judiciary, the third Branch of our Government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial), who are required by law to subscribe to supporting (NOT UNDERMINING) our Constitution before they can work as judges in our courts of law, to BLATANTLY violate Article 6.1 of our Constitution (Bunreacht na hEireann), the SUPREME LAW of the land, regarding issues such as, for example, the 80 billion Euros (or whatever it is to date) bank bailouts which "the people" were never consulted about: but who should -- by law -- have been consulted under the crystal clear Article 6.1 terms relating to "the people" having the "final" say regarding "all questions" of "national policy, according to the requirements of the common good": if such bailouts were to be lawful (and assuming of course that "the people" actually did vote in favour of them in a referendum).

No referendum for "the people" to have the "final" say in this extremely important matter of "national policy", no bank bailouts: that how it should have been.

The people of the Republic of Ireland now need to take back their Constitution from out of the grossly corrupt hands of the Judicial Branch of our Government, by all the lawful and most peaceful means available to them (AS SOON AS POSSIBLE): or, we're all done for (in my opinion), as will be our Nation (the Republic of Ireland): which many generations of our forebears fought and died to bring about between 1169 and 1937.

The full text of Article 6.1 of Bunreacht na hEireann:

"All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good."

Related Link:
"Bank Bailouts, Violations of the Republic of Ireland's Constitution, Human Rights Ireland ..."

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 17:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Chinese Communist Party is a disgrace. They are pissing on the great legacy of Comrade Mao Zedung, who built China into a great bastion of anti-imperialism. Look what they did to Bo Xilai, who's only crime was trying to bring Maoism back to China. They concocted at totally absurd list of charges against him and his wife - including the murder of an MI5 agent, who actually died of natural causes, i.e. from the same heart condition that killed his father. China is now the worst of all worlds, i.e. a vicious capitalist ruling class - with the powers of a Communist state.

There are many good Communists in China, and they should be supported - but not the anti-Maoist gangsters who are at the top.

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 17:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I suggest the following link for more information on the terrible injustice being done to Bo Xilai and his wife by Dengist conspirators:

author by pat cpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 19:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Heres a collection of articles regarding Bo's case dating back to 17 April 2012. I'd love to see the minutes of the CPC Central Committee meeting which expelled Bo from the party.

China scandal: Is Bo Xilai victim of political dispute?

author by Tpublication date Sat Oct 13, 2012 20:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apple's launch of the iPhone 5 in September came with a bunch of new commercials to promote the device.

But Apple didn't shout quite so loud about an enhancement to its new mobile operating system, iOS 6, which also occurred in September: The company has started tracking users so that advertisers can target them again, through a new tracking technology called IFA or IDFA.....

Full report at the link below along with instructions on how to disable the tracking.

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author by pat cpublication date Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Full text at link.

China open letter opposes Bo Xilai parliament expulsion

A group of Chinese leftists have written an open letter asking parliament not to expel disgraced leader Bo Xilai. The letter, signed by more than 300 academics and former officials, was carried on the left-wing Chinese-language website Red China. It said the move was legally questionable and politically motivated.

China's leftists are a small but vocal group to whom Mr Bo's populist policies appealed.

Expulsion from parliament would remove Bo Xilai's immunity, meaning he could be prosecuted over the scandal that has seen his wife jailed.

author by pat cpublication date Sun Nov 04, 2012 13:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

China's leaders have ended their latest closed-door conclave with a decision to formally expel disgraced politician Bo Xilai from the Communist Party.

The move paves the way for his criminal prosecution.

The ruling Communist Party today ratified the expulsion of Mr Bo, a former Chongqing party boss, and also Liu Zhijun, one-time railway minister, who was sacked last year for "serious disciplinary violations".

The developments were reported by state news agency Xinhua said at the close of the secret four-day meeting.

Their expulsions were the latest in a string of punishments doled out by a party keen to show it is clamping down on official corruption just days ahead of a five-yearly party congress expected to usher in a new generation of leaders.

The "seventh plenary session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Sunday endorsed a decision ... to expel Bo Xilai", Xinhua said in a brief report.

The government accused Mr Bo in September of corruption and of bending the law to hush up his wife's murder of a British businessman. He has yet to be formally charged.

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author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Sun Nov 04, 2012 14:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Chinese people badly need to purge these Dengist counter-revolutionaries from the Communist Party. Xilai's only "crime" was looking after the poor and promoting Maoism.

author by pat cpublication date Tue Nov 06, 2012 13:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Were MI6 behind a campaign to destroy Bo?

Neil Heywood: Briton killed in China 'had spy links'

Mr Heywood met with an MI6 officer for at least a year, the Wall Street Journal says

A British businessman killed in China had been providing information to the British secret service, the Wall Street Journal newspaper claims. Neil Heywood had been communicating with an MI6 officer about top politician Bo Xilai for at least a year before he died, the paper said. The UK Foreign Office said it would not comment "on intelligence matters".

In April, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Mr Heywood was not a government employee "in any capacity". The case is at the heart of China's biggest political scandal in decades.

The November 2011 death of Mr Heywood brought down Mr Bo, the former Communist Party chief of Chongqing and a high-flier who was once tipped for top office.

Mr Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was jailed in August for the murder of Mr Heywood at a Chongqing hotel. His former police chief, Wang Lijun, has also been jailed in connection with the scandal. ...

Ever since Mr Heywood's death plunged China into political crisis, there have been claims the Briton may have been a spy, says the BBC's Damian Grammaticas in Beijing. Citing unnamed friends and British officials, the Wall Street Journal said that while Mr Heywood was not an MI6 employee, he had knowingly passed on information to the organisation.

"The Journal investigation, based on interviews with current and former British officials and close friends of the murdered Briton, found that a person Mr Heywood met in 2009 later acknowledged being an MI6 officer to him," the Wall Street Journal says in its report.

"Mr Heywood subsequently met that person regularly in China and continued to provide information on Mr Bo's private affairs."

author by An Draighneán Donnpublication date Tue Nov 06, 2012 13:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is no reason whatsoever to suspect that Mr. Heywood was killed. He died of the same heart condition that his father died of. He was dead and buried for most of a year, with no hint of suspicion among the family, or anyone else, when the Chinese Politburo decided it had to take out the hugely popular Bo Xilai, who was becoming a threat to the corruption and theft that they thrive on. Then Heywood was dug up, and a farcical set of charges concocted against Bo Xilai and his wife.

author by fredpublication date Tue Nov 06, 2012 17:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

but if he killed a british spy, surely that makes him, in the immortal irish words of james coburn, a "grand glorious hero of da revolution"??

author by JoeMcpublication date Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Foxconn's operation in the Czech republic boasts of “a level of productivity from workers that would otherwise be possible only in China.” Over 4,000 workers at the Taiwan company's Pardubice plant —mostly from Vietnam, Bulgaria and Mongolia - turn out parts for computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard under “harshly exploitative” conditions .Collusion between Foxomm management ,the Czech Metalworkers union and employment agencies ensures production targets are met on time . "Workers are under constant pressure. Their breaks are so short they largely use them up crossing the vast factory hall to and from their lockers. In addition, so-called group leaders are on hand to enforce work rules. They prevent the workers from talking or even drinking water during working periods."

When the company wants to dismiss those who resist its regime or when orders slump , the immigrant workers are deported by a compliant Czech government.

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