Print 126 comment(s) - last by Pythias.. on Jul 28 at 8:51 PM

This Chinese story is full of crazy twists

Apple is apparently hard at work cooking up what will become the successor to the iPhone 3G S.  In China, an army of parts designers are working on the phone's circuit boards and components.  Leading them is Foxconn in Shenzhen, a city in the industry-heavy Guangdong province near Hong Kong.

At Foxconn, a 25-year-old college graduate working in product communications, Yong Sun Dan, was in charge of the phone's prototypes.  On Thursday, July 9, he set out to pick up 16 prototype units from the factory.  He would later discover that one was missing according to DigitalBeat.  His theory was that he left it at the factory.  On Monday, July 13 he unhappily reported it to his boss.

Two days later, three Foxconn employees broke into his apartment and searched it.  Sun, according to an IM exchange, also may have been detained and physically abused during the search. 

The story came to an end of Thursday at 3 a.m. when Yong Sun Dan leapt from the window of his apartment building to his death.  The tragic story showcases the potentially deadly game of intrigue and leaks that blog sites play.  On the other side of the aisle, it shows the tremendous pressure that manufacturers like Foxconn feel about defending the secrecy of its star products.

Steven Lin, a Chinese blogger and marketer, perhaps sums it up best, writing:

Students [like Sun] have been studying in schools for years, and they have been carefully protected by their parents. They can’t endure such pressure - ‘their house being illegally searched,’ or ‘house arrests’ (if that’s true, according some reports news). Employees at these and other factories sometimes kill themselves simply because of the pressure from their daily jobs — you know what’s going to happen when they face more serious threats. Also, most young Chinese guys don’t have friends who are lawyers, so they don’t know how to protect themselves in the legal system. They won’t even look for help from the legal system. They will just endure the pressure, and finally find an extreme way to end all their troubles.

The security division at Foxconn -- the so-called Gu Central Security Division -- has been suspended without pay.  Foxconn Technology Group chief executive, general manager of business and Li Jinming has personally apologized as well to the loved ones of the deceased and says the death greatly distressed him.

In the end, the mysterious death of Sun stands out as a shocking story, even in a country that publicly executed its quality control minister for accepting bribes and allowing contaminated antibiotics onto the market a mere year ago.  Was the foul play greater than it seemed?  What really happened to the phone?  We may never know, but the story will hopefully pressure China's tech industry to reform its ways.

Updated 7/21/2009
Apple has released a statement to CNET regarding the death. "We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect," said Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet.

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By wayout41 on 7/21/2009 10:12:04 AM , Rating: 0
Its not really honerable, just a bit stupid.

He could have done what everyone else does when they loose a phone, Ring it.

By putergeek00 on 7/21/2009 10:28:35 AM , Rating: 1
Hmmm... Well educated, has access to iPhone prototypes.

Im just guessing but I'd say he probably thought of that before he jumped.

By wayout41 on 7/21/2009 10:44:08 AM , Rating: 2
Very true, also realised after typing that its very insensitive.

By Iaiken on 7/21/2009 10:52:46 AM , Rating: 2
That would require the phone have a number assigned to it by a provider.

By Iaiken on 7/21/2009 3:50:53 PM , Rating: 5
Wow... way to go off the deep end over someone sacrificing accuracy for conciseness... perhaps you should switch to decaf?

If you want to get completely technical, the number isn't assigned to the sim card either. The service-subscriber key that is stored on the sim card is assigned to a phone number and not vice versa.

But by all means, keep freaking out over it...

By sxr7171 on 7/21/2009 5:40:20 PM , Rating: 2
Well he does bring up a good point though. If these prototypes are so valuable there should be GPS or RFID tracking built into them. Heck where's MobileMe tracking when you need it?

Yes, I know. I said that last part in jest since I know it can't be relied on in a device that may or may not be "live", but some form of RFID protection was needed and one would think that a technological solution should have been implemented rather than this one of threats and illegal searches.

By Iaiken on 7/22/2009 9:59:41 AM , Rating: 2
This is actually a good idea for any prototype device capable of transmission. The antennae could be dual-purposed to amp up an RFID signal which could be triggered by receipt of another predetermined RFID key. This would allow you to effectively 'ping' the device wirelessly, using existing infrastructure and triangulate its location. So long as it in a state that is capable of transmission...

By xsilver on 7/22/2009 6:15:43 AM , Rating: 1
yawn - you're the one thats "freaking" out defending yourself?

and you're arguing over a moot point as I pointed out in the 3 point "presentation" that you didnt understand?

its like arguing that your ferrari is faster when you've lost the keys and have no gas...

By Iaiken on 7/22/2009 10:01:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not the one aggressively attacking other people in order to make myself look smart in the eyes of the intertron...

you... switch...decaf... :P

By xsilver on 7/22/2009 4:55:53 PM , Rating: 2
aggressively attacking? if I need to switch to decaf then you need to find a way out of that padded cell...

plus this is a TECH FORUM. If you come here and say something wrong about TECH related stuff then expect to be corrected. Im not here to tell you your hair smells good lol.

this is on top of you trying to make a moot point because the phone wouldnt have a sim in it anyways. I made it abundantly clear above but I guess that doesnt matter.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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