The Fate of a Generation of Workers: Foxconn Undercover

On Friday, another Foxconn worker fell to his death, making him the eighth death of a Foxconn worker this year. Foxconn, otherwise known as Hon Hai, is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of computers and other consumer electronics, producing products for Apple, Dell, Intel, Motorola, and many others. The company has been in the news recently because of a string of suicides by its workers. Now, a foreign journalist has gone undercover in one of the Foxconn plants to investigate working conditions. His report was published in Southern Weekend, and has been translated by engadget:

After going undercover in Foxconn for 28 days, I came back out. I’ve been trying to tie the two pictures together. But it’s very difficult. Even with people living in these two places sharing the same age, the same youth dream.

My undercover was part of Southern Weekend’s investigation on the then six Foxconn suicides. We soon found out that most of Southern Weekend’s reporters were rejected due to age — Foxconn only recruits people around the age of 20. In comparison, being just under 23 years old, I was quickly brought into Foxconn.

The 28-day undercover work made a strong impact on me. It wasn’t about finding out what they died for, but rather to learn how they lived.

Meanwhile, videos have come to light showing Foxconn security guards apparently beating workers at a Beijing plant. The Beijing TV report can be viewed here, via Shanghaiist.