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Author Topic: Apple Speaks Out on iPhone Factory Suicides  (Read 463 times)
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« on: May 26, 2010, 03:00:06 pm »

Apple Speaks Out on iPhone Factory Suicides

(Image courtesy of 9to5Mac)After an alarming number of suicides at the Chinese factory where consumer electronics devices are manufactured for a number of U.S. companies, Apple Inc. has issued a public statement on the matter.9to5Mac is reporting that Apple spokesman Steve Dowling has gone on record with Bloomberg over the recent rash of suicide attempts among Foxconn factory workers in Shenzhen, China -- eleven this year, with at least four in the month of May alone, and in only two of the eleven cases did the worker survive. Apple is "saddened and upset by the recent suicides at Foxconn," Dowling told Bloomberg.Foxconn is a division of Hon Hai Precision Industry, the Chinese manufacturer who has long been a supplier for Apple and other technology companies. After a handful of suicide attempts by factory workers there, the Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly sent a 20-year-old reporter undercover at the factory in Shenzhen and during his 28 days there, he “experienced the appalling conditions workers endure as they churn out products like iPods, iPads and iPhones for Apple.”“We're in direct contact with Foxconn senior management and we believe they are taking this matter very seriously,” Apple's Dowling elaborates. "A team from Apple is independently evaluating the steps they are taking to address these tragic events and we will continue our ongoing inspections of the facilities where our products are made."The Chinese manufacturer was thrust into the spotlight last year after an employee who lost a next-generation iPhone prototype reportedly committed suicide. Foxconn employees number 400,000 at its Chinese plant, and statistically, the eleven suicides are not unique. However, the manufacturer is taking them very seriously, hiring psychologists and even spiritual guides in an effort to “improve morale” within the plant.Business Week notes that Foxconn has been making efforts to do damage control with the press, even giving journalists a tour of the factory. “Billionaire Terry Gou, Hon Hai’s founder and chairman, loaded journalists today aboard a fleet of five buses to tour the Longhua plant in Shenzhen as the family of Ma Xiangqian, one of the deceased, looked on from the south gate,” the publication noted. “The parents, who say Ma didn’t kill himself, knelt on the ground crying, holding on to a framed picture of their dead son.”
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