Protesting workers beaten at Chinese iPhone factory

Nov 22, 2022, 10:33 PM | Updated: Nov 24, 2022, 1:06 am
In this photo provided Nov 23, 2022, security personnel in protective clothing were seen taking awa...

In this photo provided Nov 23, 2022, security personnel in protective clothing were seen taking away a person during protest at the factory compound operated by Foxconn Technology Group who runs the world's biggest Apple iPhone factory in Zhengzhou in central China's Henan province. Employees at the world's biggest Apple iPhone factory were beaten and detained in protests over pay amid anti-virus controls, according to witnesses and videos on social media Wednesday, as tensions mount over Chinese efforts to combat a renewed rise in infections. (AP)

(AP)

BEIJING (AP) — Police beat workers protesting over a pay dispute at the biggest factory for Apple’s iPhone, whose new model is delayed by controls imposed as China tries to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Foxconn, the biggest contract assembler of smartphones and other electronics, is struggling to fill orders for the iPhone 14 after thousands of employees walked away from the factory in the central city of Zhengzhou last month following complaints about unsafe working conditions.

China’s status as an export powerhouse is based on factories such as Foxconn’s that assemble the world’s consumer electronics, toys and other goods.

The ruling Communist Party is trying to contain the latest wave of outbreaks 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 with no outside contact.

Foxconn offered higher pay to attract more workers to the 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 changed terms of their pay, according to an employee, Li Sanshan.

Li said he quit a catering job when he saw an advertisement promising 25,000 yuan ($3,500) for two months of work. That would be a significant hike over average pay for this type of work in the area.

After employees arrived, the company said they had to work two additional months at lower pay to receive the 25,000 yuan, according to Li.

“Foxconn released very tempting recruiting offers, and workers from all parts of the country came, only to find they were being made fools of,” he said.

Videos online showed thousands of people in masks facing rows of police in white protective suits with plastic riot shields. Police kicked and hit a protester with clubs after he grabbed a metal pole that had been used to strike him. People who shot the footage said it was filmed at the site.

The protests in Zhengzhou come as the ruling Communist Party faces rising frustration about restrictions in areas across China that have closed shops and offices and confined millions of people to their homes.

That has boiled over into protests in some cities. Videos on social media show residents tearing down barricades set up to enforce neighborhood closures.

The ruling party promised this month to try to reduce disruptions by shortening quarantines and making other changes. But the party is sticking to a “zero-COVID” strategy that aims to isolate every case while other governments relax controls and try to live with the virus.

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

Apple Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

Other videos showed protesters spraying fire extinguishers toward police.

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

Foxconn, whose headquarters are in New Taipei City, Taiwan, said that its contractual obligation about payments “has always been fulfilled.”

The company denied what it said were comments online that employees with the virus lived in dormitories at the Zhengzhou factory. It said facilities were disinfected and passed 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 happening again,” a company statement said.

Foxconn offered up to 10,000 yuan ($1,400) to newly hired employees who wanted to quit and return home, the finance news outlet Cailianshe reported, citing unidentified recruiting agents.

Foxconn didn’t respond to a request for confirmation or details.

Protests have flared as the number and severity of outbreaks has risen across China, prompting areas including Beijing, the capital, to close neighborhoods and impose other restrictions residents say go beyond what the national government allows.

More than 253,000 cases have been found in the past three weeks and the daily average is increasing, the government reported Tuesday. This week, authorities reported China’s first COVID-19 deaths in six months.

The government will enforce its anti-COVID policy while “resolutely overcoming the mindset of paralysis and laxity,” said a spokesman for the National Health Commission, Mi Feng.

Early Thursday, the government reported a total of 31,656 cases found over the past 24 hours, including 27,646 without symptoms and 212 infections it said were acquired abroad. The total was up about 10% from the previous day.

Also Thursday, people in eight districts of Zhengzhou with a total of 6.6 million residents were told to stay home for five days, going out only to buy food or for medical treatment. Daily mass testing was ordered in what the city government called a “war of annihilation” against the virus.

The city government of Guangzhou, the site of the biggest outbreaks, announced Wednesday it opened 19 temporary hospitals with a total of almost 70,000 beds for coronavirus patients. The city announced plans last week to build hospital and quarantine facilities for 250,000 people.

Also Wednesday, Beijing opened a hospital in an exhibition center and suspended access to Beijing International Studies University after a virus case was found there. The capital earlier closed shopping malls and office buildings and suspended access to some apartment compounds.

___

Zen Soo reported from Hong Kong. AP news assistant Caroline Chen contributed.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Pope tightens oversight of Vatican-linked foundations

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Tuesday tightened control and oversight over Vatican-based foundations and associations in his latest effort to impose international standards of accounting and governance on Vatican offices and affiliated entities. A new law aims to bring the Holy See into further compliance with recommendations from the Council of Europe’s Moneyval […]
6 hours ago
FILE -  Kirstie Alley attends the premiere of HBO's "Girls" on Jan. 5, 2015, in New York.  Alley, a...
Associated Press

Kirstie Alley, Emmy-winning ‘Cheers’ star, dies at 71

Kirstie Alley, a two-time Emmy winner whose roles on the TV megahit "Cheers" and in the "Look Who's Talking" films made her one of the biggest stars in American comedy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, died Monday. She was 71.
6 hours ago
FILE - A student visits a sensory room at Williams Elementary School, on Nov. 3, 2021, in Topeka, K...
Associated Press

Many kids are struggling. Is special education the answer?

The COVID-19 pandemic sent Heidi Whitney’s daughter into a tailspin. Suddenly the San Diego middle schooler was sleeping all day and awake all night. When in-person classes resumed, she was so anxious at times that she begged to come home early, telling the nurse her stomach hurt. Whitney tried to keep her daughter in class. […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

Millennial Money: How credit can beat buy now, pay later

At first glance, a “buy now, pay later” plan’s promise of no interest or upfront fees can seem more appealing than a credit card’s terms. Dividing a transaction into, say, a pay-in-four installment plan sounds straightforward and manageable. Unlike credit cards, though, these plans lack certain consumer protections and are sometimes unpredictable. In this way, […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Then Economic revitalization minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura speaks during a press conference ...
Associated Press

Japan, Belgium to cooperate in chip production, development

TOKYO (AP) — A newly founded Japanese semiconductor company aiming to revive Japan’s chip industry will collaborate with a Belgian research organization in research and development of next-generation chips for production in Japan. Economy and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters Tuesday that the new company, Rapidus, which was launched last month by eight corporate […]
6 hours ago
A protester waves a Mongolian national flag as protesters gather on the steps of the State Palace i...
Associated Press

Mongolians protest alleged theft of coal sold to China

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AP) — Protesters angered by allegations of corruption linked to Mongolia’s coal trade with China tried to force their way into the State Palace in the capital, demanding dismissals of officials involved in the scandal. The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar issued an alert Monday saying that several hundred protesters had gathered in the […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Protesting workers beaten at Chinese iPhone factory