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Protests at Apple/Foxconn/China stores

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There were apparently a bunch of protests at Apple Stores in the U.S. today.  Protesting worker abuses at Foxconn, the world’s largest maker of computers (for other companies).

Buying Apple products funds the Chinese government.

The Chinese have labor laws, she told Wired, but local government gets the majority of its revenues from Apple device maker Foxconn, and sees no reason to enforce rules on the book.

But what other electronics are you going to buy?  Dell?  Toshiba?  Motorola? Hewlett-Packard? IBM?   Foxconn makes them all.  There were no protests at Best Buy, but a large part of that chain store’s merchandise comes from Foxconn.  You can’t buy American electronics because our trade policy geniuses thought it was okay to drop our tariff barriers in return for… well… some utopian thing that didn’t happen.

Imagine if the 1.2 million Foxconn workers became, instead, U.S. jobs.

But its ok, because as America crashes those Chinese workers are getting some money with their voluntary services that are better than the countryside.  Hmmm.  Maybe not, according to this female worker.

“At Foxconn we have a saying, she says, women work like men and work like machines. A better way of putting it is that women work like men and men work like animals.”

“It’s so boring, I can’t bear it anymore. Everyday was like: I get off from work, and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It became my daily routine and I almost felt like I was some kind of animal,” she says.

And what of the reporters trying to find out about FoxConn?

We also drive by the [Foxconn] factory itself, a sprawling mini-city, with armed security. Workers come and go in shifts, and when approached they run away.

On the day we filmed there, we were followed by a mysterious white car. Wherever we went, it went. Then it was joined by another. We approached to ask why, but the driver refused to acknowledge us.

We learned later that this was Chinese state security tracking us, as we filmed stories about Tibetan uprising and Foxconn. This is common in China now as part of a nationwide crackdown on media coverage.

What wasn’t common was being stopped trying to leave the Chengdu airport, detained, taken to a police station, questioned for hours on end and having some of our video confiscated.

Some free market.  More like East Germany.

One Response to “Protests at Apple/Foxconn/China stores”

  1. Thomas Crumm says:

    Thanks Mike for picking up on this one.

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