Rethink Having an Iphone


Selas Rivers, Contributor

When China comes to mind, the thought of the amazing places like Hangzhou, Hong Village, and Jiuzhaigou pop up. Little do people think about how the Chinese people actually live in their daily lives, in their workplaces, and in their homes. The way people live in America and the way people live in China are completely different. Not in how they are, just how employers perceive and treat their workers.

Foxconn, a major iPhone factory in Shenzhen China, has about 1.3 million people on the payroll. The factory, back in 2017, was home to about 450,000 workers. The numbers were lower before due to the suicides that took place. These suicides began back in 2009, with a 25-year-old worker named Sun Danyong, who committed suicide by jumping from his apartment building. His reasoning behind the act was because he supposedly “lost” a prototype iPhone and was beaten up by security guards for “losing” it. The man-made a simple mistake that then later resulted in him being beaten up. Lastly, the acts later caused him depression and lower self-worth, which caused him to take his life in a cruel way. In 2010, the company was suspected to have “sweatshop” conditions for their workers, and because of these conditions, 14 company employees took their own lives by throwing themselves off from buildings. Around this time in June, iPhone 4 was released. (Source 3).

In May 2011, as a response from Foxconn, they decided to put up nets on their Shenzhen company, along the sides of the building to prevent those attempting to successfully kill themselves. From 2012-2013, many of the workers protested about working conditions before the release of the iPhone 5. Unfortunately, three more Foxconn workers took their lives by throwing themselves from the building that year. In 2017, apple’s first $1000 smartphone, iPhone X released. It was a happy event for consumers, but in January a woman named Li Ming took her life in Zhengzhou on top of the building where the iPhone X was manufactured. (Source 3). The rights of Foxconn’s workers seem to be the problem.

These are the rights that Chinese workers have under their law: “Workers have the right to be paid in full and on time, a formal employment contract, a 40-hour working week with fixed overtime rates, social insurance covering pensions, healthcare, unemployment, work injuries…severance pay in the event of contract termination, equal pay for equal work, and protection against workplace discrimination. Workers also have the right to form an enterprise trade union…and the enterprise union committee has to be consulted by management before any major changes to workers’ pay and conditions,” (Source 4). It is very long but states all of the key points in which Foxconn is violating its workers’ rights. Not only does it show that Foxconn should not be an employer of these people, but also that the Chinese Government is failing to regulate its peoples’ rights and failing to enforce labor laws. Unfortunately, back in 1982, leader Deng Xiaoping removed the right for workers to strike against their employers. In hope and prayer, many Chinese citizens have shown their concern for their people by protesting in their place due to their incompatibility to do so.