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Workers rioting at Foxconn's main iPhone factory in Zhengzhou clashed with police as windows and security cameras were smashed.
While Foxconn is aiming to hire another 100,000 — and the Chinese authorities are asking former military to register — employees are already fleeing the factory. Now a riot broke out on Wednesday with reports of hundreds of workers complaining about pay and working conditions.
According to Reuters, these rare scenes of public dissent in China were ultimately caused by an alleged plan to defer bonus payments.
At the Foxconn factory in Chinese communist Zhengzhou, there have been new riots. Violent clashes escalated from both CCP & Chinese rioters, tear gas grenades were fired when the Chinese rioters responded to the enemies with a fire detector. pic.twitter.com/5OU7dXAiiE
— Northrop Gundam (@GundamNorthrop), November 23, 2022
Footage of the riots is circulating online, though Reuters reports most of it has been removed from Chinese social media site Kuaishou.
Various videos reportedly show workers complaining about not being given food during their COVID lockdown. They also say China and Foxconn's “closed-loop” health measures — where employees live and work on site — does not work.
“It is now clear that closed-loop manufacturing at Foxconn is only helping to prevent the spread of COVID into the city,” Aiden Chau of China Labor Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based human rights group, told Reuters via email. . “[It] does nothing (if not worse) for the workers in the factory.”
In a statement to Reuters, Foxconn denied allegations of contract changes to prevent bonus payments, calling them “wrong.”
“Regarding any violence, the company will continue to communicate with employees and the government,” the spokesperson added, “to prevent similar incidents from happening again.”
Apple has not yet commented on the riots.
This is not the first riot that has been observed in a factory that makes all or most of Apple products. In May, workers at a factory in Shanghai that makes the MacBook Pro rioted over anti-coronavirus measures.