Protesting workers being beaten at the Chinese iPhone factory

Protesting workers being beaten at the Chinese iPhone factory

The ruling Communist Party is trying to contain the latest wave of the outbreak without shutting down factories and the rest of its economy as it did in early 2020. Its tactics include “closed-loop management,” under which workers live in their factories without contact.

Foxconn has offered higher salaries to attract more workers to its Zhengzhou factory to assemble the iPhone 14, which sells starting at $799 in the United States.

On Tuesday, a protest erupted after employees who had traveled long distances to take jobs at the factory complained that the company had changed their salary terms, according to the employee, Li Sanshan.

He told me he quit his catering job when he saw an advertisement promising 25,000 yuan ($3,500) for two months of work. That would be a significant increase over the average wage for this type of work in the region.

After the employees arrived, the company said it had to work two more months for less pay to receive 25,000 yuan, according to Li.

“Foxconn issued very attractive employment offers, and workers from all over the country came, only to find that they had become fools,” he said.

Online videos showed thousands of people wearing masks and facing lines of police in white protective suits with plastic riot shields. Police kicked and beat a protester with batons after he grabbed a metal pole that was used to beat him. The people who filmed the footage said it was shot on location.

The protests in Zhengzhou come as the ruling Communist Party faces growing frustration over restrictions imposed in regions across China that have closed shops and offices and locked millions of people in their homes.

This has turned into protests in some cities. Videos on social media show residents tearing down barricades erected to enforce neighborhood lockdowns.

The ruling party promised this month to try to limit the unrest by shortening the quarantine and making other changes. But the party is sticking to a “zero COVID” strategy that aims to isolate each case while other governments ease controls and try to live with the virus.

The protest in Zhengzhou continued into Wednesday morning as thousands of workers gathered outside dormitories and confronted factory security workers, according to Li.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company earlier warned that iPhone 14 deliveries would be delayed after access to an industrial park around the Zhengzhou factory, which Foxconn says employs 200,000 people, was suspended following the outbreak.

Other videos showed protesters spraying fire extinguishers at the police.

A man who identified himself as the Communist Party secretary in charge of community services appeared in a video posted on social media platform Sina Weibo urging protesters to withdraw. He assured them that their demands would be met.

Foxconn, which is headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan, said its contractual obligation on payments has “always been fulfilled.”

The company denied what it said were comments online that infected employees were living in dormitories at the Zhengzhou factory. It said the facilities were disinfected and subjected to government checks before employees moved in.

“Regarding any violence, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government to prevent similar incidents from occurring again,” the company said in a statement.

Protests have flared as the number and severity of outbreaks soar across China, prompting authorities in regions including Beijing, the capital, to lock down neighborhoods and impose other restrictions that residents say are beyond what the national government allows.

National Health Commission spokesperson Mi Feng said the government will implement its anti-Covid policy while “resolutely overcoming the mentality of paralysis and indolence”.

The city government of Guangzhou, the site of the largest outbreak, announced that it has opened 19 temporary hospitals with a total of nearly 70,000 beds for coronavirus patients. Last week, the city announced plans to build hospitals and quarantine facilities for about 250,000 people.

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