Suicides Spur Nintendo, Sony, and Others to Investigate Foxconn

Tharwen

Ep. VI: Return of the turret
May 7, 2009
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Foxconn, where work makes you free.

OK, maybe that was in poor taste, but it's still feckin' weird.
 

Denamic

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Aug 19, 2009
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Marik2 said:
Arkhangelsk said:
Marik2 said:
They just need a Fight Club. Joking aside the company really needs to clean itself up.
Yeah, then they can start a terrorist group and bomb all big gaming companies.

OT: This is quite serious. I hope they figure out what's wrong.
I actually meant the part of Fight Club where they blew off steam by fighting each other. Cuz it really works...not that I would know.
First rule! FIRST RULE!

A Chinese production plant is among the top 3 places I would not want to work.
The other two include being a crash test dummy and cashier.
 

Jaebird

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Aug 19, 2008
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Huh; kinda odd how a company responsible for making 21st century technological devices is running on a 18th century work regime. And it took them this long to realize that a happy worker is a non-suicidal worker?

And the Darwin Award for Common Sense in the Workplace goes to...

In all seriousness, I do hope the investigations make a difference and right the wrongs.
 

Mister Benoit

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Sep 19, 2008
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Bigeyez said:
So by "investigate" all those companies mean is that they are going to send one or two guys to China, pump out some press releases saying how shocked/dismayed they are and how they want better work conditions and then continue using this company for their cheap labor until China eventually becomes too expensive and they move on to the next cheap labor country...right?
Exactly
 

vansau

Mortician of Love
May 25, 2010
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why are those companies even in china in the first place? oh yea, i forgot, they dont care about the people of china nor their own countries
 

WorldCritic

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Apr 13, 2009
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There's a conspiracy going on. There's only one thing to do, have Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, and Apple put aside their differences and take down a common foe. Or I could just keep dreaming.
 

Blueruler182

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May 21, 2010
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Letters? Seriously? What are you going to do, sue him? How about higher pay and no whips? That would be a good start.
 

ultrachicken

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Dec 22, 2009
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Made them sign a letter saying they won't kill themselves?
What are they going to do to them if they do kill themselves? They're dead.
 

KaiRai

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Jun 2, 2008
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When China steps in and says too many people are being beaten to death, you know you have terrible working conditions. Anything to make China step in on a human rights ground is almost unheard of.
 

ENKC

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May 3, 2010
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"sign letters saying they won't kill themselves"? Can I get a thermonuclear level facepalm over here? Is this like the Marines, where you're not allowed to die without permission?
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
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Well, this is an interesting case overall. To be honest I think it's regular people looking at this plant, and complaining to the patent owners hiring the manufacturing (Apple, Sony, Etc...) that is forcing them to "investigate" their client-manufacturer, and due tot he big bucks involved getting the Chinese goverment to look at it (no concern over human rights, but over money).

The problem is that other than the civilian whistleblowers that got this ball rolling, and some of the public, I doubt anyone really cares. What your seeing is a dog and pony show until attention finally goes elsewhere.

See, the problem is that it's those hellish working conditions that allows China to manufacture goods cheaply, which is also why people go to them for manufacturing. I doubt any of the companies involved are even remotely concerned about anything but their bottom line.

When it comes to issues like secrecy, that's been a BIG issue in The United States for a very long time. Trade secrets, and corperate espionage, are a big deal. However unless a company actually has defense contracts and their security in some way "deputized" (various ways of doing it) or secret service on site or whatever, there are few ways for the company itself to police things in an effective manner since no system of "locks" is going to be entirely effective. Murders, disappearances, etc... over such things have been the subject of speculative fiction in the US for quite a while due to the nessecity because for all portrayals of evil corperations, if you really think about it as "private citizens" there is no legal way for them to truely protect themselves at that level.

I very much doubt that Apple was even remotely naive about what it would involved when they pressed the issue of secrecy at this plant. China's lack of human rights of course meaning that they could do things in the service of security that just wouldn't fly in the US. Few people take security seriously in the US even in a big place "rent a cops" and stuff like that, 99.9% of the time even as representitives of the property owner security has no real teeth, they manhandle an employee, customer, or guest they or their employer can be sued. In China that's less of an issue, step out of line, get beaten within an inch of your life. Violate a secure area, you get your knees broken as a lesson, or if there is any suspician you might have compromised something you probably get the honor of being the next "suicide".

The point being that especially in Apple's case, I would be very surprised if they didn't know about this, and didn't actually encourage it.

Of course to play Devil's advocate against my own case to an extent, Apple is also stupid for dealing with them to begin with because I can virtually guarantee your going to see China knocking off their stuff more and more as time goes on anyway, and doing it "officially". Of course Apple might be banking on the idea of constant innovation and the idea that protecting the secrets is worthwhile because by the time China has gotten into a position to do knock offs they will be on to something else, meaning that such things will remain a generation or so behind.

At any rate, it's all lip service for the most part I'd imagine. I also wouldn't get all uptight about dealing with this specific company to begin with, because that's pretty much what China's manufacturing is like in general. I mean, that's why it's so bloody cheap. If they actually provided serious benefits, paid overtime, didn't use thugs to keep people in line, had effective labour unions, etc... all of those things would result in more expensive workers which would lead to things being more expensive to manufacture. It's the human rights of nations like the US that causes people to seek the third world for manufacturing, all of those things we have that make a "fair and equitable working enviroment" such as fair breaks, vacation, sick leave, medical insurance (usually), the abillity to have unions, pay raises, enforced contracts, and similar things all amount to first worlders being VERY expensive to hire and maintain meaning that anything created by us is by definition less profitable.

I'll also go so far as to say that China has some concerns about how it looks to the rest of the world. It's become increasingly savvy with information control and the like, as you can see with how fast they reacted to that whole underage gymnists thing during the Beijing Olympics, and the speed of the crackdowns that took place when people complained about curfews, being herded, and kept out of the public eye and the like.

I very much doubt that their suicide rate has actually improved, simply that they have gotten better at controlling the information. I also think if anything things like this were also understated to begin with. When I look at things like SARS, which started from Chinese people being forced to live with livestock by all reports, and some of the other reports I've seen over the years, it makes no sense for China's death rate to be as low as they claim.

China might also be considered the "White Effect" capitol of the world. The White Effect being a general term for people suddenly disappearing. We've all heard stories like Roanoak, various ghost towns, individual disappearances here and there, and things like the Tungeneska event. Apparently this kind of things has happened all over the world. It's fodder for a lot of conspiricy theory stories. In China's case I remember hearing that they have more people disappear each year than anywhere else in the world, though in this case I don't think it's actually a matter of anything mysterious, as much as the fact that it's the best way to deal with murders, executions, and similar things carried out by the goverment or "people that matter" like major employers dealing with troublesome employees. It can be less noticible than saying "oh yeah, we've had a million executions this year".

But then again there are articles like this one (seriously, read it).


http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-06-14-death-van_x.htm

According to that article Amnesty International claims they estimate 1700 or so executions a year in China, though it's a state secret how many, and things are kept under wraps.

For all their justifications and claims of safe guards, these guys are however producing mobile execution chambers. Meaning that the disappearing of citizens, troublesome employees, and other things has just become a heck of a lot easier. No need for a loud firing squad or whatever, the police come get some guy, take him to the nearest "Chinese Party Van" and that's all they wrote....
 

Quesa

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Jul 8, 2009
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Guys, guys, why are you killing yourselves, we put a Wii, a 360 and a PS3 in the one break room, learn to share, jeez. None of you even get enough down time to keep it occupied for a full hour, WHAT is the problem here.

Therumancer said:
The problem is that other than the civilian whistleblowers that got this ball rolling, and some of the public, I doubt anyone really cares. What your seeing is a dog and pony show until attention finally goes elsewhere.
Well said, which is the tragic part; "Say, nobody's killed themselves this week, I guess conditions are improved; now that the media's off our back, can you ramp up production another five million units to meet our Q3 quota?"
 

jords

Once mauled a bear
Oct 20, 2008
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sunami88 said:
I call your attention here [http://apple.slashdot.org/story/10/05/21/205203/Ninth-Suicide-At-iPhone-Factory].

Specifically, this comment [http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1660824&cid=32299222];
Here's a source [http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2009/snapshots/11204.html] [cnn.com]. Foxconn has 486,000 employees according to fairly reliable sources.

According to this [http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB118677584137994489.html?mod=blog] [wsj.com] 2007 WSJ article, they had over 450,000 factory workers, 270,000 of which were at a single 2x1mile site.

In other words, the suicide rates for Foxconn workers is slightly below average.
Interesting...
How is every single poster managing to ignore this? While it does sound like the conditions at Foxconn are less than ideal, there are two things you need to remember.

1: People choose to work there. That means that no matter how bad the conditions are claimed to be, it's better than the workers other alternatives (starvation?). -- Obviously if evidence surfaced of employees being unable to leave, this would no longer be valid.

2: The suicide rate for foxconn employees is less than in China as a whole. 10 suicides sounds like a lot, but when you consider that foxconn has over 450,000 employees, not so much.

Lets see how long it is before people on this thread start talking about the real facts here...
 

Logic 0

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Aug 28, 2009
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This might just be the begining of the end of poor working conditions in china.