The Poetry and Brief Life of a Foxconn Worker

Taiwanese manufacturing contractor —a firm responsible for assembling as much as 40% of global consumer electronics products—has received international infamy for the inferior labor conditions at some of their China-based plants. While the company has attracted some fabricated criticism, and has taken reluctant steps towards democratizing labor in a country where labor advocacy is incredibly risky, the worker suicides that brought Foxconn global notoriety in 2010 have continued. In late September, 24-year-old Xu Lizhi took his life at a Foxconn plant in Shenzhen after toiling there for four years. A post from Libcom.org’s Nao blog has translated Xu’s obituary from the Shenzhen Daily, as well as several of the poems that the late young worker had become known for among his colleagues at the Foxconn campus. The first translation is Xu’s final writing before taking his own life on September 30:

《我弥留之际》
“On My Deathbed”

我想再看一眼大海,目睹我半生的泪水有多汪洋
I want to take another look at the ocean, behold the vastness of tears from half a lifetime

我想再爬一爬高高的山头,试着把丢失的灵魂喊回来
I want to climb another mountain, try to call back the soul that I’ve lost

我还想摸一摸天空,碰一碰那抹轻轻的蓝
I want to touch the sky, feel that blueness so light

可是这些我都办不到了,我就要离开这个世界了
But I can’t do any of this, so I’m leaving this world

所有听说过我的人们啊
Everyone who’s heard of me

不必为我的离开感到惊讶
Shouldn’t be surprised at my leaving

更不必叹息,或者悲伤
Even less should you sigh or grieve

我来时很好,去时,也很好
I was fine when I came, and fine when I left.

— Xu Lizhi, 30 September 2014 [Source]

Click through to read more of Xu Lizhi’s translated at Libcom.org.

November 4, 2014 5:11 PM
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