Protesting workers being beaten at the Chinese iPhone factory

BEIJING (AP) — Police have beaten workers protesting against conditions at the world’s largest factory for Apple’s iPhone, whose latest model has been delayed because anti-COVID measures impede China’s manufacturing of affordable high-tech for the world.

Foxconn, the contract assembly company that makes the global smartphone industry possible, didn’t have enough workers to make the new iPhone 14. Laborers.

China has fought the future of the world’s largest economy on contract manufacturing such as Foxconn. It is also betting that it can get COVID under control with some of the most stringent anti-virus controls in the world.

These two bets came into violent conflict Tuesday night in the central city of Zhengzhou.

To attract workers for the iPhone 14, which starts at $799 in the United States, Foxconn has announced inducements for Zhengzhou workers to return and hire new workers. Li Sanshan, 28, said he quit a catering job when he saw an advertisement promising 25,000 yuan ($3,500) for two months of work.

Foxconn doesn’t publish pay figures, but this package would be about a 50 percent increase over the top pay range for large employers in the region.

Li said workers drove long distances to the factory, only to be told they had to work two more months for less to get the 25,000 yuan.

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

Videos the people took said were filmed at the factory in the central city of Zhengzhou, showing thousands of people in masks facing rows of policemen 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 protest continued into Wednesday morning as thousands of workers gathered outside dormitories and confronted factory security workers, according to Lee. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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.

Frustration with restrictions across China that have closed shops and offices and confined millions of people to their homes has boiled over into protests. Videos on social media show residents tearing down barricades erected to enforce neighborhood lockdowns.

The ruling Communist Party promised this month to try to reduce 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.

Last month, thousands of employees left an iPhone factory run by Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group due to complaints about unsafe working conditions in the wake of virus cases.

Foxconn, which is headquartered in New Taipei City, Taiwan, denied what it said were comments online that employees infected with the virus were living in dormitories at its 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’s statement read.

Protests flared up as the number and severity of outbreaks grew across China, prompting authorities in regions including the capital, Beijing, to lock down neighborhoods and impose other restrictions that 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 said on Tuesday. This week, the authorities reported the first COVID-19 death in China in six months.

On Wednesday, the government reported 28,883 cases found in the past 24 hours, including 26,242 asymptomatic cases. Henan Province and the provincial capital, Zhengzhou, have recorded 851 cases.

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.

Also on Wednesday, Beijing opened a hospital in an exhibition center and suspended access to Beijing University of International Studies after a viral case was detected there. The capital earlier closed shopping malls and office buildings and suspended entry to some apartment complexes.

Apple Inc. warned. That deliveries of the new iPhone 14 model will be delayed due to disease control controls at the factory. The city government has suspended access to the industrial park that surrounds the plant, which Foxconn said employs 200,000 people.


Zen Soo reported from Hong Kong. AP news associate Carolyn Chen contributed.

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