recent expose by a state-run news agency in China revealed that
approximately one in six workers at electronics manufacturing giant
been physically abused by their employer. Foxconn, a
subsidiary of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co
Ltd, responded quickly, saying the employees were lying and that
its working atmosphere was "positive".How
"positive" that atmosphere really is has been brought into
question yet again as yet another young employee has
died in what appears to be a suicide. The 23-year-old
male was found dead outside a dormitory early on Friday.Previously
this year there had been 13
confirmed suicides at Foxconn's Chinese factories.
Despite China's high suicide rate, the suicides are unusual.
Most suicides in China occur among older rural residents -- heavily
older rural females. The Foxconn deaths though have been
largely young males, living in an urban setting -- a demographic that
has a much lower average suicide rate.Employees interviewed
by multiple Chinese news organizations report abuse and hellish
working conditions. The government is growing increasingly
frustrated with Foxconn as they feel the company is casting the
nation in a negative light and that the suicides may be caused by the
poor conditions at the plants.Other employees have died under
questionable circumstances and may have committed suicide as well.
At least one employee is thought to have been worked
to death.Foxconn commands a lot of power in the
electronics industry, though. It is the primary manufacturer
for Apple, Inc. making
the company's popular iPhones, iPods, iPads, and Mac computers.
The company also makes hardware for Dell, HP, Microsoft, Nintendo,
and more. If you walk into a Best Buy store's electronics
section it is a fair bet that the majority of products were at least
partially assembled by Foxconn.Despite the reportedly
sweat-shop working conditions many young people have journey to
Foxconn's massive factory towns that house hundreds of thousands of
workers, lured by the promise of steady income and higher wages.
When they get there, though, many become homesick and bemoan the lack
of promised raises.Foxconn promised to give its employees a
big raise to curb suicides and possibly move employees to
midwest China, closer to its workers' homes. According to
investigative reports it has done neither.