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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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RE: Enough with all the victimization crap!!!
By phantom505 on 7/21/2009 8:18:54 PM , Rating: 4
So please explain... how does one lift oneself up by their bootstraps?

I've come as close as anyone I know, and I was reliant on society's good graces. If it wasn't for higher education grants and the offer from Uncle Sam to help subsidize my education in return for military service I'd be boned.

So get off your high horse.


By Eris23007 on 7/22/2009 6:20:59 PM , Rating: 1
Um... based on what little information you shared you seem like a good example of doing just that (lifting oneself up by his or her bootstraps, that is)...

I have no problem with society putting opportunities in place for people who are willing to accept responsibility for advancing themselves. To me, subsidized education in return for military service is an ideal example - an opportunity for someone who is willing to work hard and advance themselves. I'm not saying that should be the only way, just agreeing that it's a great example as it reinforces a sense of discipline and personal responsibility along the way.

Providing such opportunities is a good way to help people overcome the disparities and lack of fairness in life. I just want to see people accept responsibility for figuring out how to overcome whatever problems they have, challenges they face, etc. All the "it's society's fault" stuff really doesn't help anyone.

Providing opportunities like that doesn't solve the problems for a person - it just gives the person an opportunity to solve the problem for themselves.

In the case of someone whose mistake is serious enough to get them sent to jail, I do believe in the possibility of rehabilitation. Again, I think the first step is to accept full responsibility for your actions and understand the need to make amends. For those people who do so, it is in society's best interests to help them get back on their feet.

In those cases in particular it's essential that the underlying attitude be something along the lines of "OK, you screwed up, you've served time and accepted responsibility. If you're willing to make the commitment, here's a path to rebuild your life. It will be difficult and it will take time, but if you persevere you'll get there."

Finally, yeah, I got on my high horse there a bit. It was a rant and I overdid it. My mistake, and if I went so far as to offend you or anyone else, I'll take responsibility for my own actions and apologize. I hope I'm expressing myself a little better this time around.


"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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