Talk:Foxconn suicides

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

WikiProject China  
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject China, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of China related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.

=Low suicide rate compared to national average[edit]

The article mentions that the suicide rate at Foxconn is low compared to the national average. This statement is redundant, because these suicides are only suicides occurring at the Foxconn workplace, not the employee base as a whole.


Does this section really belong in this article? The article covers employee suicides/deaths, but this is about a scuffle outside a factory. -Multivariable (talk) 16:46, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Suicides vs. deaths[edit]

Not all the deaths mentioned in this article are verified suicides (see Liu Bing and Mr. Liu). The former died suddenly, while the latter has yet to be confirmed (see sources). The original section in the Foxconn article (before this article was split off) categorized it as "employee deaths". -Multivariable (talk) 16:46, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Article name change?[edit]

Some of the suicides/deaths mentioned in the article are from 2007-2009, clearly not within the focus of the article as it is currently named. Also, a lot of information in the opening has nothing to do with suicides/deaths including employee mistreatment/working conditions, which is covered in the main article. -Multivariable (talk) 16:46, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

Addition of new content[edit]

A user has insisted on inserting the following content:

Spiritual controversy
Days prior to Lu Xin's death, he informed the security guard that he felt he was being followed by a matter.[1] However Lu Xin could never see what was following him when he turned around. Days later Lu Xin committed his suicide jump and died on May 1, 2010. [1]
On May 11, 2010 prior to the suicide death jump of Zhu Chen-ming, she was captured by surveillance video after leaving her room.[1] Prior to her jump, the original video captured what appears at her left waist was an invisible hand shape imprint that appears to be pushing her toward the roof of the building.[1]

I'll be honest, I don't understand what this adds (if anything) to the article. This goes into the supposed supernatural and superstition, neither of which is verifiable (WP:VERIFY). Are we supposed to think that ghosts had something to do with these suicides? It's clearly more of a matter of the working conditions than some superstitions. -Multivariable (talk) 05:09, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

You are more than welcome to say working conditions are bad. In fact that is the mainstream popular view. That should always be in the article. Is accepted by all that these workers need help. However, some of these other info are inserted as controversy, because of uncertainty. WP:VERIFY is used to verify sources only... newspaper, web etc. WP:VERIFY does not mean you have to prove ghosts are real. Benjwong (talk) 05:57, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Reason for Foxconn Suicides[edit]

I think there is a misunderstanding here, while I do not know where to gather the "correct source" for this, but this I know is true. Maybe someone can look into it for me. I am a business man working in China, and most of the businessmen here know that the reason was a bad policy implementation. The reason why so many of the employees suddenly decided to suicide was because Foxconn implemented a policy that would give workers death benefit of 400,000 RMB. Part of the policy also give workers' parents a life time wage. It offered the wrong incentives to the workers, so that's why so many had the incentive to suicide. They could have easily quit their job if work life was so difficult, and the reality is that the working condition isn't that bad compared to the rest of the manufacturing companies in China. (talk) 13:26, 17 June 2011 (UTC)

I added a couple of lines about this in the third paragraph. I find it puzzling that so much have been written about the awful working conditions, yet the suicide rate at Foxconn is well below the national rate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:44, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Ghost Section[edit]

I removed the section where it tries to seriously allege that some supernatural phenomenal ghost caused the suicide. Please use some common sense when judging sources. Even though there is a source, please do not give undue weight to fringe theories. Only one magazine ever mentions something ridiculous point like this and it radically deviates from every other source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:26, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

I don't think the section proposes ghosts as the actual cause but instead reports what others think. If that's not clear, perhaps the section needs editing. Fleetham (talk) 03:44, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

I don't think it is significantly relevant to the subject what a few people might believe. That such is stated in a print magazine does not make it a significant enough viewpoint to be represented here. Deciding whether or not to represent minority viewpoints on a wikipedia article can be somewhat confusing, so allow me to quote some choice passages from the relevant wikipedia guidelines. It makes it pretty clear that this bizarre belief that ghosts caused the suicides is not appropriate for inclusion in the article:

  • "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint."
  • "Generally, the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all."
  • "If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts"
  • "If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents"
  • "If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it does not belong in Wikipedia regardless of whether it is true or not and regardless of whether you can prove it or not, except perhaps in some ancillary article."
  • "Conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, speculative history, or even plausible but currently unaccepted theories should not be legitimized through comparison to accepted academic scholarship"

There's more but the point is quite clear. I am removing it. I hope that whoever reverts this deletion can come up with a really good argument for why this must be included in spite of the guidelines. Metal.lunchbox (talk) 22:20, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

It was replaced by the person who added it. I agree with the above undue weight argument and hope we can come to a compromise. I do think knowing that people think ghosts are responsible lends insight into the context in which the suicides occurred. Would making smaller mention of the ghosts while keeping it in the article be agreeable to both parties? Fleetham (talk) 17:37, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
If you think that there is some way to include mention of this idea without violating undue weight guidelines then I would like to see that. I don't think that such a thing is possible because the idea itself is so marginally subscribed to, counterfactual, and insignificant to the actual topic. It isn't just the way the idea is presented that is the problem. As it stands, it seems reasonable to remove the section with the rationale that I believe is states with exceptional clarity above. I'd like to see what the author of the section, the one who reverted the deletion, has to say about this. Metal.lunchbox (talk) 17:49, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Everywhere I look in other articles, minority views are mentioned (like Theories of the Black Death for example). But not here? Instead of accusing this info of being undue weight. I want to ask how do you know what is really the majority viewpoint? At a grassroot level, people in China refer to ghosts all the time. According to mainstream info, all the employees were just unhappy with work and killed themselves the same way. At least one of the person on the list did not show signs of unhappiness. Perhaps you should research a little bit more. Instead of slamming the door on this topic, the entire Foxconn supernatural investigation should be an article itself. The priest/FS master invited to the site was quite famous. Either you accept a little info or you add a lot of info to the point where it is not just some small fringe theory. Benjwong (talk) 19:22, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
The reason undue weight rules exist is so Wikipedia remains neutral and so minority, fringe views are not legitimized through comparison. As long as the article doesn't compare ghosts to the Lewisian turning point, I don't think it violates undue weight rules. We don't have to say, "a competing theory is the suicides were caused by ghost". Instead we can say something like, "many Chinese people are superstitious and some even believe ghosts were involved". Before everyone engages in more reverts, let's at least try to re-word or reduce in length the section so it doesn't violate the rules. Fleetham (talk) 20:06, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
Why is this controversial? Read what I've quoted above. This is not a minority view, its a supernatural fringe theory that someone found in a magazine somewhere with no evidence that it is a significant viewpoint. Wikipedia is not an endlist list of every belief. Find some evidence that this theory is prominent and it can stay. The theories of the black death example is nothing like this. That article cites serious scientific research by multiple authors. The guidelines say repeatedly and very clearly that this kind of content has no place on wikipedia. I am not making this up. Metal.lunchbox (talk) 20:21, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
I've deleted it again. Also it is worth noting that East Week magazine is not a reputable source. see WP:FRINGE and WP:QS if the rest of the wikipedia guidelines aren't convincing you. If you think this is a popular and significant minority view then find some reputable sources that say so. A supernatural story from an unscrupulous gossip magazine has no place here otherwise. Metal.lunchbox (talk) 00:03, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I'd rather not see reverts. The undue weight rules exist to maintain neutrality not to prevent any mention of the supernatural. Simply mentioning the idea doesn't promote ghosts as a competing cause. Perhaps Benjwong could provide a re-write that conforms to the rules on the talk page? I'm not sure how we know East Week fails WP:QS, and to pass WP:FRINGE all that's necessary is reducing the length of the mention. Let's give the author a chance to conform to the rule before saying, "this can never be acceptable content". Fleetham (talk) 01:08, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
To be honest I'm a little disappointed you've made this argument. I was kind of hoping to convince someone of what I felt like was a pretty straight-forward position. The deal with East Weeks is that its a very sensational gossip magazine that has a record of very poor judgement about what to publish. I've looked for other sources that say something about the but I haven't found anything. naturally that doesn't prove that no such sources exist. I'm only saying that we don't have any solid evidence that this explanation is significant. If a reputable source says so then its worth considering but the source is not the only problem, as I think I have explained above. The source problem might be better explained with a hypothetical. Imagine that the Weekly World News or some other supermarket tabloid reported that Osama bin Laden was killed by aliens. You would agree that any mention of that story in the article Osama bin Laden would be inappropriate, especially if the Weekly World News were the only one to report the story in that way. Metal.lunchbox (talk) 03:17, 3 July 2011 (UTC)
I apologize, but the undue weight rule isn't as straight forward as "no mention of ghosts allowed". And I don't know anything about East Week: they could very well be reporting a story that has much credence among Foxconn workers. Maybe they are a tabloid that makes up crazy stories, or maybe they are reporting a popular explanation for the suicides. We can't say a source fails WP:QS because it might. It also might not, and my hypothetical argument that it's not a questionable source because it is reporting a widely-held belief holds just as much weight. I think we should wait and see if Benjwong would like to re-write the section so it doesn't seriously propose ghosts as a cause. If he declines, there's no reason to include it. Fleetham (talk) 15:23, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Isn't the whole point of the section to propose ghosts as a cause? what other information is in that paragraph? Metal.lunchbox (talk) 15:57, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

For this event Eastweek was actually reporting from a fairly Xuanxue perspective. You are simply discrediting the source as "aliens kill Osama bin laden" which is a horribly-web-forum way to turning down sources. After going back to the source, and looking around more. The problem is really this… If you report the rest of the supernatural investigation, it can get even more bizarre to people not familiar with the topic. Can you handle the analysis of ghosts coming back because Gou may have been born year of the tiger which clashes with certain Fengshui elements. Or substitute ghosts that keep coming back? Like if the material now is hardly acceptable to wiki, this stuff would be even more challenging to put in. So I don't think I am going to put anymore in. We'll just accept mainstream science only and keep it deleted. Benjwong (talk) 01:09, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

This is one of the largest employers in the world and the suicide rate is low[edit]

In the current edition of the 'Babbage' podcast (part of the Economist), the reporters mention that suicide rate at Foxconn is lower than the suicide rate of China. Can we quote that in the article ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nroets (talkcontribs) 13:03, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

- Under heading suicides, made a minor edit. Someone mentioned something about national suicide rate of China, and that Foxconn was well below. Somehow it just didn't fit, so I edited it. I hope this is acceptable for us editors. -Samsamcat. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Samsamcat (talkcontribs) 14:24, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

Find a good reference was actually quite easy. A simple Google search -- Nic Roets (talk) 15:17, 7 January 2012 (UTC)

I went to the Genius Store at the mall today and Chad told me that the suicide rate in China is insanely high, like WAY higher than just a few people at Foxconn, and that Apple is all over this now. They're going to take care of it. Don't believe everything you hear and read in the media about Apple, people. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:15, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Even the Chinese army and police have made a statement that it's just a bunch of psychiatric patients and rabble-rousers. Trust me, wait 60 days and everything will be straightened out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:24, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

"Fell" vs. "Jumped"[edit]

In an article specifically about suicides, shouldn't the descriptions in the tables read "Jumped from building" instead of "Fell from building"?I understand some of the deaths are not confirmed as suicides, but at least those that are should note this as a jump, not a fall.Terriblefish (talk) 15:57, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

That seems a bit pedantic. They did fall from the building, even if they did not commit suicide. Fleetham (talk) 16:43, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

If you are going to compare this Foxconn with the whole population of China, you need to confine it to 17-25 year olds so the age distributions are the same. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:19, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Misleading statistics[edit]

I think the statistics are poorly handled in this article. The number of suicides at Foxconn are compared to WHO's figures for China's national suicide rate. There are at least three problems with this:

  1. The figure for Foxconn only includes suicides in the workplace, while the national figures include all suicides.
  2. The WHO figures are for the period 1987-1999, while the Foxconn suicides the article is about occured during 2010.
  3. Chinese suicide rates vary a lot between different age groups, so the statistics need to be adjusted for the age groups that work at Foxconn.

Since no clear conclusions can be drawn from them, I think the comparison to WHO's statistics should be removed from the header.

EarthMephit (talk) 11:49, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

I agree. This comparison is meaningless and misleading. I don't think that there is much data available on workplace suicides in China for any kind of meaningful comparison here. Comparison to the national suicide rate here is intentionally misleading.

(For comparison, the workplace suicide rate in the USA is 1 in 1,000,000. The US national suicide rate is 19 in 100,000. This is a factor of 200 difference).

This paragraph should be considered for removal or heavy clean-up, since it mainly cites editorials from various outlets and contains original research.

The sentence starting "Even when calculated as if all the employee deaths were from the Shenzhen factory complex alone..." is all original research, drawing incorrect conclusions from unrelated data.

Metacell (talk) 09:01, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

It is not our job to draw any conclusions from the statistics. Original Research is not allowed on Wikipedia.
We have have a WP:RELIABLE Source (the Economist) that is not disputed, so we can include it's conclusions it as fact. Journalists do not need to publish their sources or methodologies.
The ZD blog is subject to WP:NEWSBLOG -- Nic Roets (talk) 00:11, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Firstly note that the comments does not appear in chronological order for some reason.
Secondly, note that I object to a simplistic separation of workplace and non-workplace suicides. AFAIK, most Foxcon workers are migrant workers and live in company sponsored accommodation and they do not make the mental separation of workplace and living quarters. (Are there statistics for migrant workers ?)
Thirdly, I believe that the core issue at stake here is weather or not working at Foxcon is indirectly causing these suicides. So the statistical hypothesis is weather a job at Foxcon increases the chances of suicide than the alternative. The alternative may include being unemployed, in which case we should compare Foxcon to non-workplace suicides.
My intention in sharing my views is not to get them included in the article, but rather to show how complicated things can get. -- Nic Roets (talk) 11:45, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Privacy issues[edit]

Should really the names of the people who've committed suicide be included in the article? They're not public figures, so there's not much point in writing out their names, and it may be offensive to their families. Metacell (talk) 18:25, 14 February 2012 (UTC)


The article seems very defensive of FoxConn in trying to make comparison between FoxConn suicide rates and the suicide rates of China's general population, what purpose does such a comparison serve? Anyone else get the feeling this article was groomed by FoxConn? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:30, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

The comparison of suicide rates occurs only in the 3rd paragraph and has reputable sources. It merely states a few facts. Readers of Wikipedia can then decide for themselves what working conditions at Foxconn must be like.
I am (partly) responsible for the inclusion of the suicide rate comparison. But I am in no way connected to Foxconn nor any Chinese organization. My only motivation is to keep the article factual and balanced. -- Nic Roets (talk) 12:22, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

So I performed a test of statistical significance on the suicide rate of Foxconn employees based on available 2010 data for the company against that of the general population of China (also from 2010) and guess what? There was no statistically significant relationship. i.e. you are no less likely to commit suicide, at least statistically speaking, if you are a Foxconn employee, as opposed to assuming any other role as a member of the populace within China. Somebody may wish to make reference to this. I am happy to put my assumptions up if anybody else would like to verify this claim.

--Urban Sy (talk) 10:32, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Simply putting it up somewhere on the Internet is not good enough. If it was, it will open the door for a lot of abuse of statistics, e.g. [1].
You can try to get your work published by a respected scientific journal. Before then we cannot include it in Wikipedia. -- Nic Roets (talk) 11:02, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
So I presume this isn't a real issue... All the actual statistical evidence points to Foxconn having a very low suicide rate. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 22:48, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
As a reader of the article, I find it to be a very real issue. I have no idea to what extent the workplace suicide rate at Foxconn differs from the total suicide rate of Foxconn employees, which seems like the actual relevant statistic. In most situations I would expect the workplace suicide rate to be a tiny fraction of the overall suicide rate. It's possible they are more similar in this case because aiui Foxconn employees often spend most or all of their time on Foxconn property. I have no way of knowing. As it stands I find the comparison to be misleading and untrustworthy. I'm not sure how to fix it, since the referenced articles seem to take the comparison at face value. Unless the total suicide rate of Foxconn employees is available somewhere. Joeboy (talk) 13:39, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

A sentence that can be interpreted in completely opposite ways[edit]

"However, the suicides may have been clustered as specific industrial facilities; some factories could well have had eye-watering rates of attrition while others were largely unaffected by the string of deaths." When I first read it, I though it was implying that conditions at some factories are so bad that pushed some of the workers to commit suicide. When I read it again, I realized that it was showing that it's easy to draw conflicting conclusion from small statistical samples i.e. an unscientific process.

Either way it contains some weasel words, so I'm removing it. -- Nic Roets (talk) 07:33, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Xu Lizhi is not the man who jumped in 2013[edit]

Xu Lizhi jumped on 30 September 2014[2], not in 2013. The name of the man who jumped in 2013 remains unknown, according to the original source of the article[3]. Woodennature (talk) 12:47, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 3 external links on Foxconn suicides. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

You may set the |checked=, on this template, to true or failed to let other editors know you reviewed the change. If you find any errors, please use the tools below to fix them or call an editor by setting |needhelp= to your help request.

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

If you are unable to use these tools, you may set |needhelp=<your help request> on this template to request help from an experienced user. Please include details about your problem, to help other editors.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 02:35, 5 October 2017 (UTC)