The Strange Case Of Factory Suicides

We are not sure what to make of stories circulating about a series of suspected suicides at a Foxconn plant in Shenzhen. The Taiwanese company is an contract manufacturer of electronics equipment. Customers include U.S. multinationals such as Apple, Sony and Hewlett-Packard and products produced include the iPhone and Wii.

At least 10 of its workers, all under 25, have apparently committed suicide, the most recent a 19-year old  employee from Hunan who is thought to have jumped from a dormitory building. There are said to have been at least 20 failed attempts. The company has hired Buddhist monks to rid the place of evil spirits and taken practical measures such as erecting 3-meter high fences around the dormitories, hiring psychiatrists and playing music to calm workers on the assembly lines.

The plant is huge; it employs 420,000 and there is talk of poor working conditions and long hours. (An English translation of an undercover investigation by Southern Weekend is here.)  A BBC report says theories range from the presence of a suicide cluster (essentially a spate of copycat attempts) to that number of suicides being what would be expected in a population that large. Whatever the reason, factory suicides are not uncommon even if those at Foxconn are getting the most attention. Tt is a disturbing underbelly to factory life.


Filed under Industry

2 responses to “The Strange Case Of Factory Suicides

  1. Pingback: China’s Labor Disputes A Sign Of Economic Development « Market Bystander

  2. Pingback: Foxconn Expands Inland Production Capacity « China Bystander

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