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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 theapparition on 7/21/2009 6:01:43 PM , Rating: 1
Sorry, but I have to disagree.

While everything you said is true, I have to point out one flaw in your logic.

You say not to point fingers, but as a more civilized society, wouldn't you agree that we have the responsibility not to patronize countries that have abhorant civil rights? Why perpetuate the cycle of violations?

One other thing as well.....when the industrial revolution hit the US and Europe, name one country that offered thier citizens higher standards of living. Atlantis doesn't count :P


By TSS on 7/21/2009 9:08:03 PM , Rating: 3
and i'll point the flaw out in your logic: you assume we are a more civilized society. i beg to differ.

sure, we don't have 10 year old children dieing every day in factories anymore. these days, we prefer to have chinese 10 year old children dieing in sweatshops every day. sure the chinese rape human rights, but who gives a damn, it's cheap (IMO, ethically, that's even worse).

sure we don't have to pay nigh everything we earn to our landlord. instead we pay nigh everything we earn to our landlord (bank's mortgage) AND our king (government) directly in federal income tax, as opposed to through the chain of nobility.

oh and try this out for the fun of it. cancal all your insurance, all of it, then sustain a mortal wound (something that'll kill you in a day if you don't get treatment) and go to a random hospital. lets just see how much life is worth these days.

finger pointing isn't a bad thing. pointing and not realizing your standing infront of a giant mirror, that's a shame though.


By theapparition on 7/22/2009 8:33:08 AM , Rating: 3
You've countered with no logic, just a random string of grievences. I was responding to the OPs assertion that we were once a "third world" country too. That wasn't true, since there was no "first world" country at the time. Plus the world was isolated and in no way interconnected as it is now. Times have changed, and the assertion that just becuase we had a history of human rights violations does not mean that we should turn a blind eye towards the current violations being committed right now.

Reguarding your first point of children dieing in foreign countries, that was exactly my point, so thanks for agreeing. We should chose to be better and not patronize those countries. We in turn would have to accept the higher prices that would entail. I for one refuse to buy a myriad of products from China, paying sometimes much more, but I also know the quality is better. However, in many instances, there is no alternative to Chinese made items.

Your second point is of little merit. With reguard to bank financing, work harder to pay off your mortgage. Why is that anyone else's problem. I don't have a mortgage because I do quite well.
While the entire founding of this country was based on leaving the aristrocrocy and gaining freedom and landownership, government taxes have been in effect for too long, and guess what, the american people consistantly vote for candidates that promote bigger government. You can whine all you want (myself included) but until your fellow citizens wake up and realize that bigger govenrment is bad, taxes, including property taxes, will continue to increase.

And your third point is completely off base. Hospitals are required to provide services to anyone in need. It is illegal and unethical for them to turn you away. Hospitals get paid by the states coverage for the uninsured, and surprisingly, that coverage is usually higher than the negotiated rates provided by insurance companies. Of course that money comes from the state taxpayers.


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