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Foxconn employees endure hellish working conditions to earn a tiny wage for building Apple's iPads, iPods, and iPhones.  (Source: Southern Weekly)

The conditions are so bad, some employees have taken their own lives. Foxconn has created the "stress room", a place where emloyees can be away their rage and frustration, in hopes of decreasing the suicide rate.  (Source: Southern Weekly)
Apple's parts supplier Foxconn faces more controversy

Last time a reporter tried to penetrate Apple's veil of secrecy, security guards employed by their parts supplier, Foxconn, beat up the reporters involved.  But questions had to be answered in the wake of the suicide/potential murder of a Foxconn employee which occurred after the employee lost an iPhone prototype.

Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly was determined to find out the true story, and sent a reporter in undercover, posing as a new employee.  Given the fact that Foxconn's Shenzen plant that builds Apple's iPads, iPods, and iPhones has 400,000 employees, that part wasn't too hard.

What was hard, was for the reporter to endure the plant's reportedly hellish working conditions for 28 days. 

So far in the last four and a half months seven workers from the plant have committed suicide, and at least 9 have attempted suicide.  According to reporter Liu Zhi Yi who infiltrated the plant, the likely reason why was that they felt taking their own life was the only option to escape the hellish working conditions of the plant.

According to Liu, the plant makes employees work around the clock, only pausing briefly to eat or sleep.  Most of the time the employees are standing, seldom able to sit down and rest their weary legs.  This is perfectly legal, as employees are required to sign a special overtime document that override Chinese workplace laws and essentially allows the employer to demand whatever hours they want from you, without additional compensation.

Foxconn pays the workers far too little for them to hope to buy one of the Apple products they assemble.  It pays them only 900 Chinese Yuan a month —about $130 USD.  Still the workers have dreams.  They joke that their carts that they haul Apple materials on are "BMWs", dreaming of real BMWs.  They buy lottery tickets and bet on horse races in hopes of miraculously being handed an escape from their purgatory.

But for most, they will live out their lives slaving away to build Apple's products, constantly in danger, while earning only a pittance.  So, according to the newspaper there's little surprise some employees fall into deep despair.

Foxconn at the request of Apple and Chinese state officials has made some steps to decrease the suicide rates.  It's hired counselors and given workers dummies to beat on to vent their rage.  And it's even been so kind as to hire Buddhist monks to allow the souls of those who committed to suicide to escape purgatory.

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The way I live..^_^
By Setsunayaki on 5/25/2010 1:10:31 AM , Rating: 2
Rather than write an Anti-Chinese or Pro-Chinese response, I want to look at another approach...

The world operates on a One-Value System. All what this means is that any item in the world has one value, all linked to currency. Yuan, Dollars, Euros, Yen, etc...If it can be sold, it can be bought.

Described below is why I would pay double for a product like a previous poster asked:

If a sold good cost me $100 based in China, it means I am paying 680 YUAN (6.8 is the current exchange), since China does not operate under the dollar.

If you live in Beijing, China and you wanted to rent a low-end place to start a life...The cost is around 450 - 600 YUAN, per month. A family earning 2000 - 3000 Yuan a month can live and make it there. Living outside of Beijing is also cheaper too for the most part.

$100 translates towards paying the rent a month in Beijing. In the US it costs tons to pay the rent for a place to live per month...However if I knew an Iphone was made in the US, with US parts....I would much rather pay the $200 as I am not giving more than the equivalent to one month's rent directly to a foreign nation in their own currency.

You may pay $100, but truly are being ripped off when you know what it means for them when they get 680 YUAN from you $100. Paying 200 USD to a local company may cost double in actual figures, but believe it or not in the long run economically you get a better deal, since buying locally improves your economy.

If the value of your goods are higher than the value of your imports, you get a trade surplus. If the value of your goods are lower than the sales of imports, you have a trade deficit...which is always fixed by "reducing the purchasing power of your currency."

Which that is the reason why we have an economic problem in the US, aside from decades of war...flooding our own markets with currency and other means...

Its not that I like or don't like China. Its that Economically I do not want to give anymore more money than the equivalent of what my lifestyle costs within their own currency. If you do that, then you are the one being ripped off anyway you slice it.

For this reason I learned a lot about global economics, foreign culture and the real value of currency..and because of this..

Most of the products that I own where I live, have not broken down on me...have remained in operation for many years and I have also taken care of them. I look at product quality too, but also if you buy from a domestic means you have also more rights towards warranties and holding a company accountable directly if something goes wrong with your product as well.

If I make $25 an hour at a job, and I work four hours, buy it from China (for example), someone is going to pay the rent that month. If I work 8 hours and buy it from a local factory, I know someone wont pay the rent with that, and so more of my money has a greater value over the product itself...and im helping the economy too.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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