TapSuicides at Foxconn

This has been in the news a lot recently. Foxconn is a major manufacturing organisation in China which makes a lot of hi-tech consumer products for the west such as iPhones for Apple and stuff for Dell, Intel and HP. Sad though it is, let us get it into perspective. There have been 11 reported cases to date including two that were unsuccessful. Foxconn employs around 500,000 people, 300,000 at that plant. The suicide rate for China is around 14 per 100,000 population per year (although the figures are not very recent) and it is by no means the highest in the world. So on that basis there is no story.

So what is fuelling the stories; well there is nothing like a sensational headline to get readers and there is the Apple angle; and it may have been triggered by one case last year where the circumstances were a little suspicious, though never proven. Yes, western companies need to carefully monitor working conditions when off-shoring contracts but stories like this don’t help.

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