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Foxconn is giving the parents of its worker who commited suicide after the company harassed him a payoff, in hopes of quieting the matter.  (Source: PSD Blog)
Company hopes that payment will lay matter to rest

Apple and its Chinese iPhone manufacturer Foxconn made headlines when an employee Danyong Sun committed suicide.  The circumstances were anything but ordinary.  Mr. Sun had been given a set of never-before-seen iPhone fourth generation prototypes to deliver for testing.  He lost one of these prototypes and was subsequently the victim of a burglary and assault, reportedly by his employer's security division.  He then committed suicide.

Following initial statements by Foxconn and Apple, new details have emerged.  Foxconn has announced that it will pay off the family of Mr. Sun in hopes of laying the matter quietly to rest.  It has agreed to pay his parents a lump sum of $52,000 and a yearly payment of $4,400 for the rest of their lives.

The government is still investigating the incident.  Apple says it will wait until that investigation finishes before it takes action.  The main subject of the investigations is Mr. Gun Qinmin a security supervisor.  Mr. Qinmin insists that he's innocent, though he admits to sending people to search Mr. Sun's office.

The average salary of a worker in one of China's cities was 5,000 yuan ($3,560 USD) in 2007

The incident continues to highlight both Apple's veil of secrecy about its products and the pressures that young engineers in China face.  Officials with both Chinese companies and government agencies have a history of taking severe tactics at times to stomp out improper behavior.  China publicly executed its former food and drug administration head in 2007 when he was found guilty of taking bribes.

Despite the potential dangers associated with manufacturing products in China, most major electronics manufacturers build their products in China due to the lower cost of skilled labor.  Product design and testing is also increasingly being sourced to China.

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RE: comments on article
By ncheese on 7/28/2009 3:37:50 PM , Rating: 4
"Officials with Chinese companies and government have a history of taking severe tactics"
What's the connection between Foxconn and the Chinese government?

It says companies and government (the government added as a supplemental info, arguably irrelavent). However, Foxconn is a Taiwanese company - okay, some may argue is Taiwan a separate "country" (not the point of this) - but no one will argue that officials in Taiwan today are different than officials in China. So overall, I agree there is no connection. However, what the reporter is possibly trying to say is there is a connection between "Chinese Officials hired by companies" and "history of taking severe tactics".

"Despite the difficulties associated with manufacturing products in China": what difficulties? The article doesn't talk about any difficulties.

I think the issue is for Foxconn and Apple, who manufacture in China. In the end, Foxconn is directly responsible (with Apple getting some negative publicity) for it's employees. Thus, any industrial espionage (rampant in China, but also in other parts of world) and "reprisals" not authorized by Foxconn in Taiwan can occur.

My interpretation of the events is the Foxconn employee Mr Sun is suspected of stealing/selling the prototype phone. The head of security, Mr Qinmin, then shakes him down, mafia style at least once, resulting in buglary and assult charges filed. Now, it is possible either 1) Qinmin is threatening to expose him and ruin him, or 2) Qinmin continued threats/harrassments severly distressed Sun, or 3) Qinmin goes full mafia on Sun, and is covering it up to look like a suicide (or any other possibility). If these scenarios are true, it isn't good at all for Foxconn/Apple, even if Qinmin acted completely on his own because no matter what, he is an employee of Foxconn.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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