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back to article Foxconn answers critics over suicidal iPhone engineer

Foxconn, a manufacturer of Apple's iPhone, has sought to deflect the firestorm of criticism that followed the suicide of a company engineer, Sun Danyong, who reported that an iPhone 4G prototype had gone missing. According to The New York Times, Foxconn general manager James Lee said in an interview that "Several times [Sun] had …

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FAIL

The company also....

...gave his now-ex girlfriend an Apple laptop

So, that puts a price on his life (or it would, if we knew which model of laptop it was).

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Unhappy

Working conditions

Makes one ashamed really, eh?

They will rise up one day and we'll deserve it.

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Well guess I will not be buying foxconn products then

Hmm,

I would not buy blood dimonds, and now I suspect I will not by Foxconn made products for the same reason. I am rather disapointed in AsusTek even if they were not involved in this incident.

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Unhappy

Boycott

It looks like I'll have to avoid anything built by Foxxcon or Asustek.

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@TW Burger

>It looks like I'll have to avoid anything built by Foxxcon or Asustek.

Just try it, it's incredibly difficult to avoid these two, they make stuff for almost everyone :-/

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Jobs Horns

List of products

Will not be buying anything knowingly built by Foxconn until working conditions improves and someone is held accountable. And I mean somebody at the top level of the company. I never ever buys Apple anyway, so can't do much about that part. Remember, Apple knowingly allows them to continue with poor working conditions, including forcing workers to work 80 hours overtime a month above the legal 36 hours.

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Megaphone

To Reg Sim

To Reg Sim, blood diamonds are just diamonds that have not been through the totally monopolized diamond system. So in fact if you buy a diamond you should get blood diamonds as they are the only diamonds that have not gone through a totally slave like control system. Do some research that is not just Hollywood movies.

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Unhappy

@boycott

Good luck with that. You would be amazed at what Foxxcon are contracted for

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FAIL

Hmmm

Last time i ever buy any Asus crap, and i do feel pretty comfortable with the fact i have never bought an apple product before.

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Grenade

Boycott??

Good luck trying to boycott foxconn products, they make everything from complete assemblies like the iPhone, to mainboards, to connectors and passive components like capacitors.

Trying to find a product that doesn't have a single foxconn component on it is going to be quite a task indeed!

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Flame

Stupid boycotters

If you're boycotting Foxxcon and their ilk then how the fuck are you watching TV, reading the www, accessing the internet, making phone calls or even typing your ignorant comments?

The Foxxcon workers get treated a lot better than the workers that made most of the stuff you're using to keep yourself comfortable. They'd also rather that you shut up and keep buying the stuff so they have what they consider a bloody good job.

But the truth is that you're going to do nothing! You'd love to make a grandstanding moralistic statement so that you can feel less guilty about your indirect involvement in the process. The part that hurts the most is that this has all been made public. You'd rather all this gory detail was kept hidden behind a factory wall in China and not dragged out in full view.

Your moralistic positioning is as daft as someone that cries about the cruelty in killing animals while chomping into a steak.

Morons the lot of you!

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Anonymous Coward

More information

There's a lot more information here, if anyone is interested:

http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20090724_1.htm

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Re: Stupid boycotters

Totally agreed. It seems some people forget the fact that not everyone can just go out and get a job paying what people get in UK/USA/Australia/etc. To these people, getting ANY job is fantastic. They can eat, and probably feed their family too.

Labour is cheaper in some countries simply because the people demand less, which is usually because the cost of living is lower. When you only need $1 to feed your family, and that's all you care about, being paid $3 is bloody awesome.

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Unhappy

Stupid boycotters

Yes Mr.Manning you are correct.

They are like Governments who get a blaze of publicity for promises of Billions of Dollars for the victims of a disaster, and frequently fail to made good their promises.

Actually the Governments are worse because they appear generous in public.

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Jobs Horns

Cruel and unusual punishment.

I mean, come one, an Apple laptop? Surely that's just another torture technique?

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Coat

Collateral Damage

Yes its nice that these workers get a job and pay and perhaps their families benefit.

And goody for us as we get to send them our manufacturing base in return for cheap crap.

But whenever you have a situation where you have an extreme surplus of workers mixed with a wheel-n-deal anything goes environment ... there will be some regrettable collateral damage. Greed and power always corrupts.

I find it so amusing that we are slowly becoming so reliant on China for manufacturing. Its still learning how to walk so to speak ....

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WTF?

That old excuse.....

@Charles Manning....

Just because the workers at Foxconn get treated less shit than workers at other plants, that makes things OK then.......by your reckoning that would make rapists OK because they are not murderers! FFS!! People in this country sometimes amaze me....

It's easy to boycott Foxconn products...you can probably save yourself loads of money as well. Dont buy an Apple Mac or Iphone..easy because after 2 years workign with Mac OS at home, Im that fucked off with it that Im going back to XP. Iphone..easy cause O2 are shit. Tv, I already have one, so by not going out and buying the latest greatest then I can probably get away with that. If vendors see a big downturn in the number of people buying their products, they will FORCE safe and moral working practices down on their suppliers.

It just takes a little effort. But I guess people like Charles Manning are happy for their tshirts to be sewn by 5 year olds who are beaten regularly because its cheap and obviously because 5 year olds in other places are treated worse, the ones who got caught making GAP tshirts should be happy they are making a quid a month rather than being at school

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FAIL

Moron

"When you only need $1 to feed your family, and that's all you care about, being paid $3 is bloody awesome."

Yeah it could be worse they could be actual slaves and not paid anything and beaten for sloppy work and fed to hungry lions to entertain the Emperor.

Makes you wonder why the guy committed suicide really doesn't it? Apparently he had it cushy, $3 AND a stool. I bet when Belinda Carlisle sang "true heaven is a place on Earth", she was thinking about the offices of Foxconn.

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Flame

@ PPPie

You really are a total and utter moron. They are called blood diamonds because they fund a civil war where children are forced to fight etc. Yes, hollywood did their usual but the basic facts are the same.

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so...

He was given previous products and had lost them, despite then recovering them, he should never have been entrusted after proving to be useless and keepign a hold of stuff. Then this sorry mess would have been avoided.

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Linux

China

This is prelevant all over China and India and other developing industrial countries.

Boycotting will not do anything. They still have orders to make and if they dont get paid the workers dont get paid. Boycotting makes life harder for the workers.

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Anonymous Coward

apple laptop as "compensation"

.... was the valuation of this compensation at pre or post price reduction rates?

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Alert

No Suggestion That...

Sun was being forced to hand over prototypes to any other Chinese organisations while the devices were evaluated... No suggestion that he was being threatened on both sides... placing him in an impossible situation leaving only the option that he inevitably took....

anon.

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@Charles Manning

Agreed. +1

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FAIL

@ vishal vashisht

You really are a numbnuts! As other readers have said Foxconn and Asustek (which is now Pegatron) pretty much make everything you use electronically.

So for example you

The windows based laptop will have a motherboard made by either Asus or Foxconn

The Wireless Client is made by Asustek

VGA card Foxxcon

The Cisco router/switches that your ISP is using is made at Asustek

We could go on for this for ages

It may have names like Sony, Dell, HP, IBM but they all come out via those factories.

PS: I bet you read the Guardian

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South Africa?!

Perhaps some people are a little young to remember and perhaps others just have short memories. For a long time we, as a world, decided to boycott South African goods due to the way they treated their own people who had the 'misfortune' to be born a different colour than the perceived optimal white. At that time many people argued that a boycott only hurt the very people that it was designed to help, but boycott we did and as a result an entire racist regime fell. Of course in the light of recent events in that country you might argue that little has changed. But not having basic services is a step forwards compared to how it used to be.

It is true to say that a widespread boycott of Foxxcon will hurt that company and it might mean that some of those people lost their jobs. And it might mean that Apple and others decide to a look a little more closely in future at where they outsource production to. It might also mean that you will have to pay even more for your consumer electronics so that the people that produce them have the right to something as basic as a chair.

Perhaps it is only a dream that we can end the kind of abuses that were made illegal in the west a long time ago by boycotting manufacturers that outsource to sweatshops. However I seem to remember Nike changed their tune not so long ago when a similar tactic was proposed against them.

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Standard of living

There are huge discrepencies in the standard of living across the World. There is no simple solution to this but one thing is for sure, boycotting those who already earn the least isn't going to make things any better for them. You COULD offer to pay more but I don't see that happening elither!

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Unhappy

@Reg Sim

I commend you on your ethical approach to blood diamonds (and Apple purchases!) but the sad reality is, even despite much publicity (and films), many people still don't know (or at least don't care) what a blood diamond is.

My ex-girlfriend used to work in an "up-market" high-street diamond specialist. She was shocked when I asked if she could guarantee none of the diamonds in the store were blood diamonds... I was shocked to find, without having broached the subject with her before, that I was the only person to EVER ask the question in the three years she worked there!! :-0

Sadly, this "incident" is hardly, or if at all, going to register with the conciousness of most people.

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FAIL

@Charles Manning & Tim Bates

If we listened to people like you, no-one would EVER be forced to change anything that was wrong. It may not be easy to avoid anything with their stuff built into it, but avoiding the stuff that is easily traceable to them can and should be done, and that alone will affect their bottom line. Don't buy so much iToss, then Apple will notice a fall in sales and will apply more pressure to Foxconn and their ilk to sharpen their ideas up regarding treatment of workers. Yes, there might be short term harm to Foxconn and their ilk, but they will adapt, and hopefully part of their adaptation will be an improvement in worker standards. Of course, your next gen iPhone might cost a little bit more, which is what I suspect you actually care about...

@ vishal vashisht & Iggle Piggle - +1 and well said. File these muppets alongside idiots who claim that waterboarding isn't torture because other things might be worse.

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@First Anonymous Coward

"...gave his now-ex girlfriend an Apple laptop. So, that puts a price on his life (or it would, if we knew which model of laptop it was)."

What? Pretty much any compensation for something like this "puts a price" on a person's life if you view it that way- it's odd that you didn't consider the $44,000 compensation the family was given in the same light.

Even given its value, am I the only person who thinks giving his girlfriend an *Apple* laptop was rubbing it in, under the circumstances?

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WTF?

@the anti-boycotters

Yes avoiding all of the products made by these companies would be impossible. But boycotting Apple wouldnt be.

I think a question that needs to be asked of companies such as Apple, who completely outsource their manufacturing to such companies, is why are they still charging the premium price tag for products that only a few years ago were put together by someone who was paid per hour what some of their current staff earn in 2 weeks?

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Re: @First Anonymous Coward

>Even given its value, am I the only person who thinks giving his girlfriend an *Apple* laptop was rubbing it in, under the circumstances?

Maybe they think she might know where the phone disappeared to and it's an incentive for her to remember or alternatively a reward for snitching on him in some way.

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More than boycott

You need to do more than boycott a product, you need to let the supplier know that a) you are boycotting a particular product and b) why you are boycotting it. If for example Dell find themselves selling significantly less of one model of PC, how are they to know that it is due to public outrage at mis-treatment of workers in China, India etc, rather than that a competitor has something better on offer.

If you feel strongly enough about a situation like this then write to companies that sell branded Foxconn goods and tell them you are boycotting buying a given product, even if you had no intention of buying it in the first place!

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lets get child labour back!!

@AC - If your going to call me names, atleast have the maracas to use your real name.

Boycotts work, just like the SA one. If my ISP uses cisco kit that uses Foxconn stuff, thats something that I cant help or do anything about, bar complaining to cisco. What I CAN do, is refuse to buy Apple kit. I can refuse to buy ASUS kit. If this means I dont get the latest greatest gadget, then so be it. I dont measure my manhood by the size of the screen hanging off my wall. Personally I would rather spend the £500 odd quid for an iphone getting wasted with 18 year old goth chicks anyway.

I guess in your world it's OK for people to be beaten up by security, for kids to make stuff for you and for them to be abused and whipped, just so that you can have your £5 pair of elasticated pants for the extra WOW comfort.

and although I do read the Guardian, my stance comes from being a decent human being, rather than what Im told to do by a news paper (there is plenty of stuff I disagree with in the Grauniad)

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Anonymous Coward

@ vishal vashisht

You still not getting the point!

Doesn't matter what you buy its more than likely to be made by Foxcon and Asustek so unless you avoid technology you are not going to boycott these companies.

But if you want to make a stance dont ever buy any tech again, switch of your PC

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W

@ Eradicate all BB entrants

"I think a question that needs to be asked of companies such as Apple, who completely outsource their manufacturing to such companies, is why are they still charging the premium price tag for products that only a few years ago were put together by someone who was paid per hour what some of their current staff earn in 2 weeks?"

Indeed.

Same as the trainers argument - If Nike are only paying $1 a day for slave labour, how come trainers are so expensive?

I guess the answer is that "we" pay for the marketing and other guff that provides "us" with cushy office jobs and supports the brands' 'global' appeal. Effectively, the high price is a hidden protectionist subsidy that's rolled into the cost of the product that "we" pay "ourselves".

Reason: If we weren't under the marketing thrall of these 'global' big ticket brands, developing countries would be able to sell equivalent no-brand products at a fraction of the price. Ooooh, cheaper products! Seems like a bonus for us until you realise that no-one would in marketing, branding, advertising, media etc would be in a job due to the lack of need for them.

Meedja is propping up the rich portion of the world under the illusion of growth. Cheap/dispensible labour is propping up the poorer portion of the world, under the illusion that they'll be as 'rich' as us one day. Wrong. The current level of global consumption and inequality is, quite simply, unsustainable. At some indeterminate point in the future we'll 'meet somewhere in the middle', by way of war, policy, or a combination of the two.

It's a mixed up world, eh?

[This is obviously an big-picture aside to the sad and sorry story of a specific death]

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Fair Trade Mark

I would love to see the Fair Trade certification mark applied to things other than groceries and the occasional T-shirt. Petrol would be a good place to start - "This fuel did not come from the Niger Delta". And then electrical items. I would also like to see trade tariffs set to level the field: if country X allows employees to be mistreated in a way that makes products $y cheaper, then the import tariff from country X should be >$y.

Personally I try to buy stuff that's not from China: my TV was made in the Czech republic, my VCR in Spain, my cameras and GPS in Japan, my monitor in Slovakia, my phone in Finland, and much of my computer stuff in Taiwan. The difficulty with this is that it can be hard to determine where something was made until you have the unboxed item in your hands.

I note that it is mostly American companies that have outsourced manufacturing to China.

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Foxconn are everywhere

It's a nice idea to buy stuff made in countries other than China but Foxconn have factories in Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Brazil, India and Vietnam

They produce complete products for people like Apple, Sony, Nintendo, HP, Dell, Nokia, Motorola, Cisco etc. but they also make small parts which are in pretty much every computer going. I can't remember the last time I opened a PC up to find that either the CPU socket or the heatsink wasn't made by Foxconn.

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Stop

Blood Diamonds

Since it's fairly easy to get membership of the Kimberly Process and you don't need to prove anything at all, a lot of diamonds that are legally sold have more blood on them than some of the ones which are "blood diamonds".

...which has sod all to do with the story anyway.

It's pointless blaming Apple - if the guy hadn't lost an iPhone then he would have lost a laptop, a router or a circuit board belonging to some other company. Since he's known to have lost items before (and each time they've miraculously appeared when he was asked), it seems likely that he was secretly trying to nick stuff - maybe to sell to competitors.

There also seems very little evidence that the guy was beaten up either. So essentially, this story boils down to: "Apple allow their sweat-shop workers to have chairs".

Congratulations to Apple and a big boo-hiss to every other computer manufacturer because like it or not, they're making their components in the same places and can easily afford chairs. The overheads are low and so is the cost of labour, you'd be mad not to make your components there (and take advantage of the situation!)

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Grenade

Backing AC

If you want to boycott, I agree with AC, let the OEM know that you do so, in plain language and let them know precisely why. Examples please.

Additionally, use the Internet (blogs ?) to let the world know (and don't forget to provide your real name along that line). Civil courage is not just a buzzword. Shouldn't be anyway.

Stand up and be counted!

Don't deflect from this tragedy by just saying 'can't do anythng, they're everywhere anyway',

go to their customers and tell them why you don't spent your pennies for their products!

Grow up.

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FAIL

He jumped.

I know. I was right there with my hand on his back when he did it.

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Silver badge

@@Charles Manning

You miss my main point:

It is nearly, if not completely, impossible to boycott Foxconn et al and use the www or a phone etc, since they make everything from ethernet cables to routers, PCs etc. Therefore submitting a comment that you're boycotting Foxconn is just plain retarded since you're using their products to say that you won't use them. Then you're using them again to read the comments.

Gettit?

Sure, I agree that we, as an industry, should exploit these people less and do more for them. But to do that requires that we be prepared to pay more for products or demand that companies take better care of the workers in their product streams. You can achieve that by approaching companies, particularly the big brands, and telling them what you feel.

The same goes for all products that you buy that are made in China etc.

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Silver badge

Re: Fair Trade Mark

>Personally I try to buy stuff that's not from China

You're confusing made in with assembled in, the majority of the component parts of your electronic goods were more than likely to have been made in China or at the very least in manufacturing plants that take advantage of local customs.

@ vishal vashisht

>Boycotts work, just like the SA one

What did South Africa have that could be boycotted apart from cheap wine which on the whole is undrinkable anyway? South Africa was changed by political isolation not a consumer boycott. If you think otherwsie and you actively boycotted South African goods then give us an example.

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Megaphone

60 hours a week...

The unions all over Europe keep blabbering about "Defending the european worker", but that's only hot air.

The only thing they could do to really defend the workers would be parachuting by nighttime in chinese factories, and start unionising them to give the chinese workers a higher pay and more free time.

But that would mean running some kind of risk, so that will never happen...

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