Thousands Riot at Foxconn Plant in Southwest China; Dozens Arrested

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: June 8, 2012 Last Updated: June 16, 2012
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Foxconn's headquarters in Tuchung in Taiwan in 2010. (Patrick Lin/AFP/Getty Images)

Foxconn's headquarters in Tuchung in Taiwan in 2010. (Patrick Lin/AFP/Getty Images)

Chinese authorities arrested dozens of workers at a Foxconn plant in Chengdu in southwestern Sichuan province in the past week after a clash with security personnel.

The report was originally carried by overseas website Molihua, which focuses on promoting human rights in China, saying that thousands of people at the plant took part in the riots. Taiwan-based Foxconn is the world’s largest manufacturer of electronic components, with clients including Apple, Sony, and Microsoft.

Several dozen people were arrested in the clash, which was said to happen after security guards were “trying to catch a thief,” the website said. Following the incident, several workers who had problems with the security guards tried to drive them away, leading to an out-of-control situation.

Some workers who partook in the riot threw objects, including chairs, beer bottles, dishes, and trash bins, and ransacked facilities in the building.

Local officials dispatched several hundred riot police and other security forces to put an end to the massive melee, which lasted two hours. Police arrested several dozen people.

The Chengdu Foxconn plant employs around 120,000 workers who produce mainly liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors for Apple’s iPhone products. The plant was the site of a large explosion last year that killed two employees and injured 16 others.

The electronics firm has been frequently criticized for subjecting its employees to hazardous working conditions, poor living conditions, and for treating its workers badly. The allegations were brought to light after several Foxconn employees killed themselves in 2010, prompting its chairman, Terry Gou, to issue a public apology.

An investigation conducted by the U.S.-based Fair Labor Association found that there have been numerous problems with working conditions at Foxconn plants in China, according to a report in March, which contained a survey of around 35,500 randomly-selected workers.

It found “excessive overtime and problems with overtime compensation, several health and safety risks, and crucial communication gaps that have led to a widespread sense of unsafe working conditions among workers.”

Apple last month said it will share initial costs in an attempt to improve its working conditions in Foxconn’s factories in China, according to reports at the time.

Foxconn, in a statement to PC Magazine, said the employees rioted following a “disagreement with the owner of a restaurant located in [Chengdu].”

“We were also informed that the employees subsequently returned to their off-campus residence, owned and managed by third-party companies, at which time a number of other residents also became involved in the disagreement and local police were called to the scene to restore order,” the statement reads.

“Foxconn is cooperating with local law enforcement authorities on their investigation into this incident,” the statement added.

Liu Kun, a spokesperson with Foxconn, told the regime-owned China Daily publication that the riot was started by workers at an associated factory with Foxconn and not the Chengdu plant. The workers, he added, got drunk at a restaurant and began to throw things around.

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