Home News protests in the world’s largest iPhone factory, paralyzed by the Covid

protests in the world’s largest iPhone factory, paralyzed by the Covid

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“Let’s defend our rights!” » : Employee protests erupted this Wednesday, November 23 in China in the largest iPhone factory in the world, owned by Taiwanese subcontractor Foxconn, according to images posted on social networks Twitter and Weibo.

The factory is located in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan province. It is a huge industrial site that typically employs some 200,000 people, most of whom reside on site in dormitories.

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Zero Covid Policy

China tirelessly pursues a zero Covid health policy, which involves strict confinements, quarantines for those who test positive and almost daily PCR tests, arousing growing discontent among the population.

Certain categories of people, in particular students and workers, are sometimes confined for many weeks in a row to campuses or production sites, without the possibility of moving freely.

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Footage of the protests, verified by AFP, shows a crowd of workers marching down a street. Some face people in white full body suits and riot police.

On a video, filmed at night, a man appears with a bloody face. Off camera, we hear another say: “They hit people, they hit people. Do they have a conscience? » AFP was able to verify this video in particular thanks to the geolocation which made it possible to recognize one of the buildings and the barriers near the housing of employees on the site of the factory.

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In other images, hundreds of people in the white coveralls can be seen standing on a road near what appear to be the factory dormitories. The person filming from an adjacent building says: ” It starts again. It’s from last night until this morning. »

“They are charging! »

Another video clip apparently shows security guards kicking a person who appears to be a worker lying on a road. And on a video broadcast live, at night, dozens of workers shout “Let’s defend our rights!” » in front of rows of police and a police vehicle with flashing lights. Then the author of the video shouts “They’re charging!” » and “Tear gas canisters! ».

A video clip of the same nocturnal demonstration, taken from another angle, shows workers setting off fire extinguishers in the direction of police located out of camera view. A photo taken during the day shows the charred remains of a portal, apparently burned during the night.

A video also shot during the day shows several fire engines and police officers in white coveralls, while a voice in a loudspeaker chants: “All workers, please return to your accommodations, do not associate with illegal minority elements”.

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The keyword #RiotsFoxconn appeared to be censored this Wednesday afternoon on Chinese social networks, including Weibo. A few posts referring to the protests, however, remained online.

Foxconn recognizes “violence”

Foxconn, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP, confirmed on Wednesday “violence” in his factory. The Taiwanese group, which assembles electronics for many international brands including Apple, said in a statement that workers had complained about wages and working conditions at the factory, but denied taking on new hires. with coronavirus positive staff. “With respect to any violence, the company [Foxconn] continue to communicate with employees and government [chinois] to prevent similar incidents from happening again.he assured.

The factory has seen a spike in coronavirus cases in recent months, leading it to close in an attempt to contain the virus. Since then, the huge facility has operated in a bubble in ” closed circuit “.

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Foxconn had decided to confine the area, with the workers inside. But hundreds of panicked workers then fled on foot, some complaining of the chaos and disorganization reigning there. To keep the factory afloat, the company offered large bonuses to the remaining employees and tried to recruit new workers.

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The American giant Apple, of which the iPhone is the flagship, had admitted in early November that the confinement of the site had “temporarily assigned” factory production, a blow before the end of year holiday sales period.

Foxconn is the largest private sector employer in China, with more than one million employees across the country in about 30 factories and research institutes.

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