December 9, 2022

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Panic at the world's largest iPhone factory: Workers try to flee after rumors of deaths

Panic at the world’s largest iPhone factory: Workers try to flee after rumors of deaths

Workers flee a giant iPhone factory in China. Some climb fences with their bags and then escape on foot across the fields. These are photos that went viral on social media a few days ago. At the factory, run by Taiwanese subcontractor Foxconn, all iPhone parts are assembled by hand and then exported to the rest of the world. It is said that more than 200,000 people work there. Most of them also live on the factory site.

But in mid-October, the company was closed to the outside world after the emergence of corona infections. Fearing long lockdowns due to the Chinese government’s policy of not spreading the virus, many decided to flee. As a result, the area around the plant has been completely closed and even the airport has to remain closed for a week. In the factory itself, workers are no longer allowed to eat in the cafeteria, have to take huge paths to get to their dormitories, and have to take daily Covid tests.

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Room 726

But the biggest problem is isolating the infected. Individuals who test positive but do not have symptoms should continue to work among uninfected individuals, according to witnesses. These witnesses said: “Production is more important than human welfare.” The others, along with those in close contact with them who were passive, were placed in complete isolation. They will get very little or no food from Foxconn and will have to live in appalling conditions.

Rumor has it that the latter also led to deaths. Video footage circulating on social media is said to show someone shouting from the window: “Room 726. They are all dead.” The video in question is also said to be one of the reasons for the massive escape attempt by several employees. Foxconn later clarified in a statement that there were no deaths at the plant and that the video had been edited. They also assure that all employees receive three meals a day. The facts cannot be independently verified yet.

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60 km walk

The large displacement and closure mean that the company is afraid to increase production capacity. So Foxconn offered employees an extra $14 a day last week to keep working. On Tuesday, that amount rose to $55. Initially, the employees were not allowed to leave the site at all, but due to massive outcry on social media, Foxconn gave up. Although according to the employees, it is not clear if they will lose their jobs as a result and if they will still be paid for the work already done.

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Gao Mingjun, daughter of a Foxconn employee, said New York times That her mother did not have the virus, but was quarantined by the company along with a colleague. The result of that colleague came back positive later. On Saturday, the woman decided to leave through the Foxconn entrance gate with a hundred employees. They are not allowed to use public transport, so the woman left on foot. 60 km journey. Sunday evening, after walking all day and night, she came home exhausted with sore feet and blisters. “It’s been a very long journey. She definitely won’t be coming back to Foxconn.”

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