Foxconn sues journalists after admitting that the stories were true

In what appears to be another corporate body versus journalist situation, Foxconn has filed a lawsuit against two Chinese reporters that authored stories about poor working conditions at Foxconn. Original news about Foxconn's Shenzhen factory burst onto the newswire several weeks ago alleging that the manufacturing giant made its employees work extreme overtime hours and were paid bare minimum wages -- the original articles even claimed that Foxconn employees were underpaid.

Wang You and Weng Bao of The China Business News wrote and edited the original article that was distributed widely within mainland China. The two are being sued by Foxconn for roughly $3.77 million USD which is the largest claim of its kind in the country. Despite this, The China Business News said that it will vigorously defend its employees. The news organization said it "stands firmly behind its journalists and will bear all possible consequences in this case."

Apple launched an investigation into Foxconn's business practices several weeks ago, claiming that it has no tolerance for partners and suppliers who treat their employees poorly. The initial report said that while the majority of Foxconn's facilities were well received, some areas such as housing were substandard -- most employees were happy but many had a few concerns.

According to original reports, it was a news report by Britain's Daily Mail that provoked the original Apple investigation. The story by Britain's Daily Mail apparently broke news four days before the article by Wang You and Weng Bao. Interestingly, Foxconn admitted to employee labor violations after the articles were already published.

Foxconn previously tried suing journalists in 2004 over a story that it felt damaged its reputation only to later retract the lawsuit when it received pressure from the Association of Taiwan Journalists. In the new lawsuit against Wang You and Weng Bao, Foxconn also claims its reputation was tarnished.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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