back to article Four-year probe finds Foxconn's Apple 11 factory 'routinely' flouts Chinese labour laws

An investigation by China Labor Watch has found Foxconn's Apple 11 factory is "routinely" and "repeatedly" breaking Chinese labour laws which limit employment of temporary staff. The exhaustive investigation saw several people working in the factory to uncover abuses, with one individual placed there for more than four years …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When the Communist Party of China thinks your labour camps are inhumane...

    Remember when Apple were opposed to Big Brother instead of competing with Him?

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: When the Communist Party of China thinks your labour camps are inhumane...

      Nah! That was only an advert. And they always lie to us.

      1. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

        Re: When the Communist Party of China thinks your labour camps are inhumane...

        "And they always lie to us." Do they? You must be very paranoid if you think that is true.

        That ad was based on a truth that there were two opposing views of computing 1) computers were there to control people and a workforce 2) computers are the servants of people.

        IBM was there to control people. Silicon Valley took view 2, and this was the philosophy behind the Macintosh – it was no lie.

        Even IBM's PC were still about controlling the office environment, and I still see that in Windows today.

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: When the Communist Party of China thinks your labour camps are inhumane...

      "When the Communist Party of China thinks your labour camps are inhumane..."

      If I understood, it's China Labour Watch complaining... some sort of NGO?

      The communist party of China doesn't seem to care. If they did care, I'm sure they would put a stop to it before you could say 'Tienanmen'

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When the Communist Party of China thinks your labour camps are inhumane...

        The Chinese are much more laid back, when it comes to Health and Safety.. but things have been improving over the recent 10-15 years - But never compare them to the UK, even most of Europe looks at the UK and says WTF?!

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: When the Communist Party of China thinks your labour camps are inhumane...

        The communist party of China doesn't seem to care.

        Why should they? They have more people than they know what to do with. Looking at some of the failed policies in the past such as 1 child per family, it's not's going to get any better. The people are under the watchful eye of the government and any behavior not the norm is punished.

        It does seem though that they have changed in one area... profit is now king but at the expense of everyone else.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: When the Communist Party of China thinks your labour camps are inhumane...

          The one child policy was not a failure. It was in fact so successful that China became worried about the demographic shift with too few working age people if it continued that they had to end it. It was a great success for its stated purpose of stopping China's population from growing out of control.

          1. Denarius

            Re: When the Communist Party of China thinks your labour camps are inhumane...

            @DougS: mainly needed One Child policy because of early 1960s baby boom encouraged by central gov. Given the Chinese empty city phenomenon and the shrinking labour pool in coming decades baby bonuses will probably appear soon. I suspect that China will follow Japan, Singapore and South Korea into population crash over the next 100 years.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: When the Communist Party of China thinks your labour camps are inhumane...

              A shrinking labor pool may be a good thing for them when automation starts taking over most of the manufacturing work Foxconn and other companies in China do, and spreads to fast food, retail and other low skill jobs. And of course all the jobs driving cabs and trucks go away as well.

              Could they possibly find jobs for 1.3 billion people in 30 years? Other than taking care of the 4 grandparents per "one child", that is.

  2. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    "We have contacted Apple and will update this story if it responds"

    I believe many exec in Cupertino dream of having ElReg journos working in a Foxconn factory....

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

      Re: "We have contacted Apple and will update this story if it responds"

      Maybe they'll get off the hook if they use Macs?

      Apple would probably also like to get non-iThing readers into their (slave) labor pool also.

    2. Ken 16 Silver badge

      Re: "We have contacted Apple and will update this story if it responds"

      Many editors in London probably dream of having them work too

  3. macjules Silver badge

    "staff X-raying phones to check they have been assembled correctly"

    I wondered why my iPhone X glowed in the dark.

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    What an delightful equilibrium - As long as you are hip

    Trendy shiny shiny hipster smartphone on one side

    Slave Labour Pain Machine on the other...

    1. scarletherring

      Re: What an delightful equilibrium - As long as you are hip

      > Trendy shiny shiny hipster smartphone on one side

      > Slave Labour Pain Machine on the other...

      I don't disagree -- but at the same time I have no illusions about the other brands being any better... Next time I'm up for a new device I'm looking into FairPhone. Anyone tried that?

    2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: What an delightful equilibrium - As long as you are hip

      "Trendy shiny shiny hipster smartphone on one side

      Slave Labour Pain Machine on the other..."

      Unfortunately pretty much all technology, clothing and food (and their disposal) in the Western world has it's costs kept down by said SLPM.

      There are more slaves now than at any time in history. Convicts are paid a few quid a day for real work.

  5. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I hear the next pphone is going to be called iAbuse

  6. Rich 11 Silver badge

    $239 a month

    No wonder Donald President wants Tim Apple to repatriate manufacturing to the US. Build the onshored factory in Colorado or Nevada and he'll be able to offer the migrant children he's got locked up in the camps a way to simultaneously work off the cost of their keep and learn all they need to know about late-stage capitalism.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: $239 a month

      Alternately, why not just use the currently unemployed......it would give them something to do whilst waiting for a real job...

      1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

        Re: $239 a month

        Use the currently unemployed? But that would involve them having to work, and they might not vote for Donald President next time...

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Re: $239 a month

          Current US unemployment is less than 4%. Trump would be delighted if the unemployment rate was used in any debate.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: $239 a month

            Current US unemployment is less than 4%

            Does that include farmers, or they take them off the count the moment they accept the "please still vote for me" Trump handouts?

            1. NotBob
              FAIL

              Re: $239 a month

              Why would a farmer, one who works on a farm that he may or may not own, be considered unemployed? Would you count all entrepreneurs as unemployed? Does self-employed just link to unemployed in your dictionary?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: $239 a month

                Farmers are companies too, and most of these small enterprises got seriously screwed over by the side effects of Trump's trade war to the point where they had to sack staff or even simply close the shop because they were not able to recover their investment in crops and thus ended up with unresolvable debt.

                If you were watching properly instead of finding snide comments you would have noticed that the market in farming equipment has tanked. Nobody is buying because they don't see a future, and those who still can are now buying up the equipment from farmers that had to stop.

                The smart ones know that Trump's handouts will only last until the election - after voting, they are no longer worth paying attention to for Trump.

                So, back to the question: does that 4% include the people who are

          2. LDS Silver badge

            Re: $239 a month

            'Unemployment' rate excludes those who aren't looking for a job, and it's increasingly a bad indicator when a not so small share of the population is not working nor looking for a job, While in the past almost all of those without a job were looking for one, it's no longer so in many countries.

            When you have not a few people who have issues to get a job because drug addiction, previous convictions, etc. they may simple give up and live out of subsidies and the like.

            Plus people in the gig economy and/or forced to work two-three jobs to meet ends my almost prefer to work in a Chinese factory....

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Re: $239 a month

        They can't risk it when they are opioid-addicted, they would steal and sell parts or even whole devices...

      3. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: $239 a month

        Once Trump gets in again they can get the workhouses up and running.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Child labor

    "Some of these are university and secondary school students forced to work overtime or risk losing qualifications – as detailed in a previous report."

    So, employing minors and forcing them to work overtime. In other words, Apple uses forced child labor.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Child labor

      When I think about the number of times I have to fill out Modern Slavery declarations - how does any company using iPhones manage to meet the requirements?

      1. MiguelC Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Child labor

        by lying?

  8. jmch Silver badge
    Devil

    Mostly False

    "among several claims in the report that both Foxconn and Apple have denied to several media orgs, with Cupertino branding them "mostly false" "

    So, partly true, then?

    1. el kabong Silver badge

      Apple pivoting to services signals an effort to distance from abusive labor practices

      As awareness of the abusive labor practices taking place inside the sweat shops that churn out apple branded products grows so do apple's efforts to pivot towards services and away from hardware.

      Apple is fully aware of the abusive labor practices hence the mild rebuttal.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't worry iPhone users will...

    Still complain to everyone else how they are inhuman and should be destroyed. Biggest hypocrites in history, flailing on about the environment while changing their phones every 2 years, talk about abuse and misogyny and let's not forget toxic masculinity while pointing at the evil that is called the white man, even worst old white men and even the ultimate evil old Anglo Saxon white men.

    History is not on their side, 100 years from now they will look back at them the same way we look back 100 years ago when everyone and their dog were playing with radium (home x-ray, radium tonics, radium science kits for kids...) idiots.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

      Well, my iPhone is almost 4 years old (it's a lovely iPhone 6s), and I'm sure I'm far from alone in not feeling the need to "upgrade" every 1 or 2 years.

      At least Apple supports hardware for a fairly reasonable period of time with software and security updates, how many Android churners can say that? If anything, they are more environmentally wasteful. And that's even before we consider Google's data slurping kleptomania.

      Possibly I might be in the mood (and have enough saved up, it's certainly not an impulse purchase) to be looking for a newer iPhone next year, and, sadly, I rather suspect I might have to, as Apple's sweeper wagon is starting to get rather closer as of the next iOS version.

      It would be good if there were a viable third player in the market, without Google's innate evil and without Apple's rather too excessive desire for profit (I don't begrudge Apple making a reasonable profit, but not at the expense of the people ultimately working for them).

      1. Evil3eaver

        Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

        So your good with child labour then.

    2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

      I think you probably need to go home and take some bromide. Not only is your post relatively incoherent and grammatically incorrect, but also largely deluded.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

        So you suggest that someone should kill them self because they don't agree with you... wow

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

          "take some bromide" is an expression meaning to chill out. Potassium bromide used to be a common sedative.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

            Next time include the potassium part makes the world of difference... Bromide is corrosive and toxic by it self.

    3. Alien8n Silver badge

      Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

      As an iPhone user I certainly have never called the users of any other device inhuman and demanded they be destroyed. That said, I'm under no illusions that switching to another brand would be more ethical. If it says made in China then it's almost certainly falling under the same work conditions. And not just China, many other places are the same. India is a hub of jewellery making, where children often make jewellery for pennies. Indonesia makes your trainers for pennies. Your shirts are made in Bangladesh for pennies. I want everything I buy to be ethically sourced, but I'm also acutely aware that in order to do so I'd have to buy everything locally made to ensure it at a much higher price.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

        You say that all other stuff manufactured in China is like Foxcon but I disagree. The fact that year after year the same old story of Apple using under aged forced child labour has gone on since...iPhone

        You would think that such claims would have been made about every other vendor but they are not... maybe it's because Apple owners are hypocrites that waive their "better than though" BS all day long while being the cause of the problems they profess to be against.

        Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there is abuse in other foundries but no way near the system problem that Foxcon has demonstrated for the last 15 years... Remember they are the company that had instituted the suicide nets right... wonder why that happens.

        Let's face it iPhone's are built on sorrow... that is it, yet you claim the higher ground, nothing is more hypocritical as that.

        1. Alien8n Silver badge

          Re: Don't worry iPhone users will...

          Foxconn are the issue, and Foxconn make a lot more than just iPhones. Even Samsung has been listed as using child labour in China. It's just trendy to bash Apple because they're popular. That's not to diminish the report on the conditions iPhone producers work under, it's just saying that it's a lot more widespread than you seem to be able to comprehend. Foxconn are the primary manufacturer of everything electronic in China, supplying Apple, Samsung, Dell, HP, to name just a few. They're a leading supplier to Amazon. The issue is that they have a monopoly on production so can ignore any demands from their customers to improve conditions. It's not like they can just switch to another factory overnight. The entire western world is built on Foxconn's labour. They own Sharp, Linksys, Belkin. You cannot avoid using their products.

          http://www.chinalaborwatch.org/reports

  10. tempemeaty

    "We have contacted Apple and will update this story if it responds. ®"

    There is no "it", only "they" as in Tim C, the companies Board and the rest of the managing upper staff.

  11. harmjschoonhoven
    Unhappy

    The days

    kids built their own ham radio sets are long gone.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love international trade

    We pass all these laws to protect the common man, then we off-load the working reality to places that don't follow those rules.

    Sounds fair and despicable

  13. whoseyourdaddy

    Quick! Name a phone that ISN'T made in China by FoxConn...

  14. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    Foxconn is NOT Apple

    Foxconn builds electronics for many companies, not just Apple. Maybe people attack Apple because they are the most influential and they do care about their image. But remember many other companies are complicit as well.

    In fact the whole issue of widespread almost-slave labour is what gives the west so many cheap products, especially clothing and shoes which we might get cheaply, or pay $100s for when the labour costs a few dollars.

    1. Alien8n Silver badge

      Re: Foxconn is NOT Apple

      This. This is the point I've been trying to get across to the AC above who seems to think if Apple just stopped making iPhones child labour in China would simply disappear. Apple is just the most visible customer of Foxconn, but are by far not the only one. And as I stated, this is a much bigger issue than just phones and electronics made in China, it affects the entire supply chain for pretty much everything that's not made in the Western world. It's the clothes you wear, the shoes on your feet, the jewels in your rings and necklaces, the tea and coffee you drink, the chocolate you eat. China is just the most visible offender. You absolutely cannot avoid buying unethically.

  15. RLWatkins

    ... Oh, and one more correction:

    "We have contacted Apple and will update this story if it responds," should read "We have contacted Apple and will update this story if they respond."

    Apple Computer Corp is not some alien, faceless non-human sentient entity, it is a group of people. People are responsible for this. People.

  16. RLWatkins

    I'll try this again....

    That headline should read: 'Four-year probe confirms the common knowledge that Foxconn's Apple factories routinely flout Chinese "labour laws"'.

    There. That's better. It's best to proofread carefully.

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