Yet Another Death

In what seems to be a daily occurrence, another worker at the Foxconn Shenzhen plant has jumped to his death on late Wednesday.

Moreover, Reuters reports that three Taiwan TV stations brought news of another person that had jumped on Wednesday. The jumper, a young woman, survived with serious injuries. This information is still unconfirmed, but as Reuters points out, it could bring the tally to 13 falls, with three survivors. This number does not include the employee who was apparently beaten to death by Foxconn security.

Foxconn is the largest electronics manufacturer in the world. Its China-based factories churn out iPods, iPads, iPhones, Kindles, PS2s, PS3s, Wiis and Xbox 360s. Apple recently commented, releasing a statement that it is "saddened and upset by the recent suicides at Foxconn". What's more, the company is "in direct contact with Foxconn senior management and we believe they are taking this matter very seriously."

There 420,000 employees based at its Shenzhen plant alone. Foxconn has taken measures to counter the suicides by installing nets around the company dormitories where the employees live as well as the factories. According to the company's CEO, "Although this seems like a dumb measure, at least it could save a life should anyone else fall." Other measures include a contract in which employees promise not to comment suicide or sue the company.

The secretary general of the Shenzhen municipal government, the police and Foxconn are jointly considering ideas to improve the living environment — such as building sports and cultural facilities. "The region is home to millions of migrant workers," writes Reuters, "many isolated from their families and facing a bleak, low-paid existence on production lines."

Bank of America and Merrill Lynch have told clients that these incidents would affect Foxconn's image, but are unlikely to seriously impact earnings.

Foxconn hit by 10th jumping death | Reuters [Reuters Thanks, Austin!]


    A contract in which employees promise not to commit suicide. So what will they do to that employee if they do commit suicide? Sounds kinda pointless.

    Maybe, y'know, for the cost of them nets all around the place they could give them better working conditions? Nah, too extreme, lets just put up nets everywhere!

    This is horrible. How about instead of enforcing "dont kill youself" policies, they actually try to improve the state of treatment of workers. I hope they get a bad name for this. So many deaths! Makes me wish The Punisher was real!

    You know, here in Australia (as i work in the hospital) the mental health unit can detain individuals if they are emotionally unstable and on that basis, a risk to themselves or others, it's best described as imprisonment for a few days max, with an aim to rehabilitate through medication and so on (usually works).

    Normally when an individual is released, they are made to sign a contract saying they will not harm themselves, others or more improtantly kill themselves.

    However this is more commonly known as doctors covering their assess. It leagaly pushes all responsibility and consiquences upon the individual commiting the act.

    Is Kotaku willing to post a petition up to the effect we (the consumers of the products made by the company) want to see improved working conditions in the factory[/ies], consultation with employee repesentatives to address their concerns, and guaranteed access to the worksite and employees by independant auditors &/or human rights activists to transparently show they are taking these issues seriously?

    You would no doubt draw more traffic to your website, improve your image, and give us an opportunity to try to make a difference, together as a community.

    I just got a really bad feeling about all the electronics in my house that were probably manufactured (at least partly) at that very plant...

      You will do nothing about it and the bad feeling will go away.

      You will continue to buy products manufactured by these people and their work and living conditions will not improve. You won't care because you have your iPad and iPhone and PS3 while these people have a room the size of your closet which they share with 4 other people.

        Well put, but so will you...

    I forgot to suggest that copies of the completed petition be forwarded to Microsft, Apple, Nintendo etc. They would be the ones most likely to ensure the company who owns and manages the factory takes action.

    I really believe we could all make a difference.

    I read an comment on a China-focused news site that made an interesting point about this story.

    13 people from one company. That sounds like heaps. But then you see the figure, 450,000 employees. That's a rate of 3 per 100,000. Compare that to Australia's suicide rate (21 per 100,000), and it doesn't sound so big, does it?!

      I correct myself, that was males only (which is kind of alarming anyway). Factoring females it's about 11 per 100,000 (as of 2003). China as a whole was at 14 (as of 1999) for reference.

    What surprises me is that the Chinese government is letting this news make it to the outside world.

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