Foxconn suicides

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The Foxconn suicides occurred between January and November 2010 when eighteen[1] Foxconn employees attempted suicide with fourteen deaths.[1][2][3] The suicides drew media attention, and employment practices at Foxconn, a large contract manufacturer, were investigated by several of its customers including Apple and HP.[4] Foxconn is a major manufacturer that has catered to such companies as Apple, Dell, HP, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, and Sony.[4]

The suicides prompted 20 Chinese universities to compile a report on Foxconn, which they described as a labour camp.[2] Other experts have claimed that employees are treated comparatively well at Foxconn,[5] but news reports have been critical. Long working hours,[5] discrimination of mainland Chinese workers by their Taiwanese coworkers,[6] and a lack of working relationships[7] have all been held up as potential problems.

The suicide rate at Foxconn during the suicide spate remained lower than that of the general Chinese population[8] as well as all 50 states in the United States.[9] Additionally the Foxconn deaths may have been a product of economic conditions external to the company. In China in 2010 there were several major strike actions at other high-profile manufacturers in China, and the Lewisian turning-point is a macro-economic factor that may provide context for the events.[10]

In response to the suicides, Foxconn substantially increased wages for its Shenzhen factory workforce,[11] installed suicide-prevention netting,[12] and asked employees to sign no-suicide pledges.[13] Workers were also forced to sign a legally binding document guaranteeing that they and their descendants would not sue the company as a result of unexpected death, self-injury, or suicide.[14]

Suicides[edit]

Although the number of workplace suicides at the company was large in absolute terms, the rate is still low when compared to the rest of China.[8] (However, the country has a high suicide rate with over 20 deaths per 100,000 persons.[15]) In 2010, the worst year for workplace suicides at Foxconn with a total of 14 deaths, the total employee count was a reported 930,000 people.[16] The average workplace suicide rate for Foxconn that year was 1.5 per 100,000 making it well below the national average suicide rate (around 7% of the national average).

Pre-2010[edit]

While the 2010 incidents were remarkable for their extent, the company has suffered other employee suicides as well.

English name Chinese name Gender Age Suicide attempt date Description Status
Mr. Hou Unknown; Family name: Male 19 18 Jun 2007 Hung himself in a company bathroom.[17][18] died
Sun Dan-yong 孙丹勇 Male 25 16 Jul 2009 Fell from apartment building[19] after losing an iPhone prototype in his possession.[20] Prior to death, he claimed he was beaten and his residence searched by Foxconn employees.[20] died

2010[edit]

An estimated eighteen Foxconn employees attempted suicide in 2010,[1] with a minimum of fourteen deaths.[1][2][3]

English name Chinese name Gender Age Suicide attempt date Description Status
Ma Xiang-qian 马向前[21] Male 19 23 Jan 2010 Fell from building[22] perhaps as a result of a family dispute[4] died
Mr. Li Unknown; Family name: [21] Male 28[4] 11 Mar 2010 Fell from building[23] unknown
Tian Yu 田玉[21] Female 17 17 Mar 2010 Fell from building[23] Paralyzed from waist down[1]
Mr. Lau Unknown; Family name: [21] Male 23 29 Mar 2010 Fell from building[23] unknown
Rao Shu-qin 饶淑琴 Female 18[4] 6 Apr 2010 Fell from building[23] survived[4]
Ms. Ling Unknown; Family name: Female 18 7 Apr 2010 Fell from building.[23] died[4]
Lu Xin 卢新[21] Male 24 6 May 2010 Fell from building[23] died[24]
Zhu Chen-ming 祝晨明[21] Female 24 11 May 2010 Fell from building[25] died[4]
Liang Chao 梁超[21] Male 21 14 May 2010 Fell from building[26] died[4]
Nan Gan 南刚[21] Male 21 21 May 2010 Fell from building[27] died[4]
Li Hai 李海 Male 19 25 May 2010 Fell from building[28] died[4]
Mr. He Unknown; Family name: [21] Male 23 26 May 2010 Fell from building[29] unknown
Mr. Chen Unknown; Family name: [21] Male 25 27 May 2010 Suicide died[21]
Mr. Liu Unknown; Family name: Male 18 20 Jul 2010 Fell from the sixth floor of a dormitory building[30][31] died[31]
Unknown Unknown Male 23[32] 5 Nov 2010 Fell from building[33][34] died[34]

2011[edit]

English name Chinese name Gender Age Suicide attempt date Description Status
Wang Ling Unknown Female 25 7 Jan 2011 Jumped from building after being sent to a psychiatric hospital died[35]
Unknown Unknown Male 20 26 May 2011 Fell from building. Died in Deyuan town, Chengdu (possibly in Pi County) died[36]
Mr. Cai Unknown; Family name: 蔡 Male 21[37] July 2011[38] Fell from building at Shenzhen plant.[38] died
Li Rongying Unknown Female 20 23 November 2011 Fell from building died[39]

2012[edit]

English name Chinese name Gender Age Suicide attempt date Description Status
Unknown Unknown male 23 14 June 2012 Fell from building died[40]

2013[edit]

English name Chinese name Gender Age Suicide attempt date Description Status
Unknown Unknown male 24 24 April 2013 Jumped from dormitory died[41]
Unknown unknown female 23 27 April 2013 Jumped from dormitory died[41]

Reports[edit]

An 83-page report detailing the Foxconn suicides and labor conditions was produced by 20 universities in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China.[2] Interviews of 1,800 Foxconn workers at 12 factories found evidence of illegal overtime and failure to report accidents.[2] The report also criticized Foxconn's management style, which it called inhumane and abusive.[2]

A Hong Kong-based non-profit organization, Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour, also produced a report on Foxconn employee mistreatment.[42]

A 2012 audit of Foxconn performed by the Fair Labor Association at the request of Apple Inc. suggested that workplace accidents may be common and that workers may consider overtime pay insufficient.[43]

In the media[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Lau, Mimi (15 December 2010). "Struggle for Foxconn girl who wanted to die". South China Morning Post (Wuhan, Hubei). 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Tam, Fiona (11 October 2010). "Foxconn factories are labour camps: report". South China Morning Post. 
  3. ^ a b Pomfret, James (5 Nov 2010). "Foxconn worker plunges to death at China plant: report". Reuters. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jason Dean (27 May 2010). "Apple, H-P to Examine Asian Supplier After String of Deaths at Factory". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 May 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Suicides at Foxconn: Light and Death economist.com, 27 May 2010
  6. ^ 富士康管治双重标准 员工有冤上诉无门
  7. ^ Moore, Malcolm (16 May 2010). "What has triggered the suicide cluster at Foxconn? – Telegraph Blogs". London: Blogs.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-07-09. 
  8. ^ a b "Suicides at Foxconn: Light and Death". The Economist. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  9. ^ "Foxconn suicide rate is lower than in the US, says Apple's Steve Jobs". The Daily Telegraph. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  10. ^ For other 2010 strikes, see "Strikes signal end to cheap labor". China Daily. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Foxconn suspends operation at a facility in India reuters.com, Mon 26 Jul, 2010
  12. ^ Foxconn Rallies Workers, Leaves Suicide Nets in Place (Updated) wired.com's Epicenter blog, 18 August 2010
  13. ^ "Chinese Factory asks for 'no suicide' vow". MSNBC. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  14. ^ Malone, Andrew; Jones, Richard (6 December 2010). "Revealed: Inside the Chinese Suicide Sweatshop Where Workers Toil in 34-Hour Shifts To Make Your iPod". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  15. ^ "China's suicide rate 'among highest in world'". AFP. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "Foxcon Plans To Increase China Workforce to 1.3 Million". Focus Taiwan News Channel. 19 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  17. ^ "[血债二]2007年6月18日 富士康一名女工在厕所上吊自杀-百度和讯财经网". Finance.baidu.com. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  18. ^ "富士康员工意外事件频发_新民网_为民分忧 与民同乐". News.xinmin.cn. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  19. ^ He, Huifeng (28 July 2009). "Payout over man's iPhone suicide". South China Morning Post. 
  20. ^ a b IPhone Maker in China Is Under Fire After a Suicide nytimes.com, 26 July 2009
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Eastweek magazine. Vol 334. 6 June 2010 issue. pg 13.
  22. ^ Sina.com. "Sina.com." 富士康馬向前系墜亡 警方不予立案. Retrieved on 2010-10-10.
  23. ^ a b c d e f Wenweipo.com. "Wenweipo.com." 深陷「跳樓門」富士康首度檢討. Retrieved on 2010-10-10.
  24. ^ Behind the shiny screen ZDNet.com.au, 14 December 2010
  25. ^ Nownews.com. "Nownews.com." 富士康重點培訓幹部 盧新無法忘情音樂選擇自殺. Retrieved on 2010-10-10.
  26. ^ Anhuinews.com. "Anhuinews.com." 家屬稱梁超是“被自殺”. Retrieved on 2010-10-10.
  27. ^ Wenweipo.com. "Wenweipo.com." 富士康員工最怕領導罵 曾被告知跳樓賠10萬. Retrieved on 2010-10-10.
  28. ^ Chinanews.com.cn. "Chinanews.com.cn." 富士康發生今年“第11跳” 死者宿舍內留下遺書. Retrieved on 2010-10-10.
  29. ^ Yahoo.com. "Yahoo.com." 富士康第12跳確認為自殺. Retrieved on 2010-10-10.
  30. ^ "Another Foxconn worker falls to death in China". BBC News. 20 July 2010. 
  31. ^ a b "Worker Death Tally Rises at Foxconn China". ABC News. 21 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  32. ^ Zhuang, Pinghui (6 November 2010). "Another suicide as Foxconn faces more flak". South China Morning Post. 
  33. ^ Pomfret, James (5 November 2010). "Foxconn worker plunges to death at China plant: report". Reuters. 
  34. ^ a b "Foxconn Suicide Returns, Another Foxconn Employee Falls to Death (updated with video!)". 
  35. ^ Chang, Chris (13 January 2011). "New Suicide From Foxconn, Worker Jumped Because of Insult". M.I.C. Gadget. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  36. ^ Huang, Cary (27 May 2011). "Foxconn worker in Chengdu suicide". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). p. 6. 
  37. ^ "Foxconn employee jumps to his death in Shenzhen". Taipei Times. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  38. ^ a b "Cna English News". Focustaiwan.tw. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-05. 
  39. ^ "Worker commits suicide at Foxconn plant". China Daily. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  40. ^ Jim, Clare (14 Jun 2012). "Foxconn says plant worker jumps from apartment". reuters.com. Thompson Reuters. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  41. ^ a b http://english.sina.com/china/p/2013/0501/587095.html
  42. ^ Sacom.hk. "Sacom.hk." Workers as Machines: Military Management in Foxconn. Retrieved on 2010-12-18.
  43. ^ Williams, Matt (29 March 2012). "Foxconn audit finds illegal overtime and unpaid wages at Apple factory". guardian.co.uk (Guardian News and Media Ltd). Retrieved 2012-05-29.