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Viral Video: Chinese workers at Foxconn iPhone factory clash with security over Covid rules

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadNov 23, 2022 | 13:46

Viral Video: Chinese workers at Foxconn iPhone factory clash with security over Covid rules

Clashes break out between Chinese Foxconn factory workers and security. Photo: Getty Images

If you have an iPhone in your hand right now, you might be interested in knowing what's happening to the people and the place that made it. Some rare series of events are taking place in China. In the latest, videos of a violent protest at Foxconn factory (the main place that makes iPhones for the world) in Zhengzhou, China, are going viral on social media.

  • In the hazy video, a massive crowd of people can be seen pushing, pulling and hitting each other. Reports say that workers at the factory clashed with the security personnel on the ground in the wee hours of Wednesday, November 23. 
  • According to witnesses, workers swarmed out of dormitories at the factory, pushing past the outnumbered security personnel dressed in white. 
  • Onlookers were heard yelling "fight, fight" as groups of people pummelled a person lying on the ground. 
  • Some of the protesters also rocked a police vehicle parked nearby. 

Why? According to anonymous witnesses, the riot broke out over unpaid wages and fear of Covid infection. Several workers were reportedly injured before anti-riot police came and dispersed the crowd.

Foxconn's Covid mess: The Zhengzhou iPhone factory has faced a slew of issues with its workers over Covid policies. As part of the "closed-loop policy", workplaces in China are forced to implement, workers are required to live on-site and work. 

  • A few weeks ago, videos of Foxconn factory workers jumping the fence and fleeing the premises were going viral. 
  • The fleeing factory workers were seen walking along the highways for miles on end to get to their native places before authorities intervened to help them. 

  • In another case, a viral video from Foxconn claimed that a Covid-positive worker died in confinement at the factory due to a lack of food and basic necessities.
  • Foxconn workers have decried dreadful living conditions, with crowding and lack of food. 
  • Workers are required to undergo daily Covid-19 tests. Those who test positive are placed in a separate room with claims of lack of medical attention. 
  • Due to the tensions with workers, Foxconn is also facing problems with operating the factory at full capacity. 
  • Foxconn had reported facing a workers crunch. Local Chinese authorities also stepped up to help Foxconn by asking everyone from retired military personnel to villagers to join the production at Foxconn. 
  • CNN reported recently that Foxconn has met its hiring quota for now. 
  • Foxconn employs about 2,00,000 people in Zhengzhou and is Apple's biggest iPhone maker, making around 70% of iPhones worldwide.

China's draconian Covid rules: The Foxconn protests are in line with the sentiment of the public across China. Tensions are soaring among the public over Xi Jinping's zero-Covid tolerance policy. 

  • Scenes of unrest and violent protests are rare in China because usually any sign of dissent is strictly forbidden and quickly subdued using various measures. 
  • But recent videos from China show that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has pushed the public to its limits. 
  • Violent protests also broke out in China's Guangzhou city, with citizens vandalising Covid testing centres and barricades. 

China's Premier Xi Jinping has clarified on more than one occasion that the government will not go lax on Covid rules. Covid restrictions were reportedly brought back in full force recently after authorities had scaled them down over unrest a few weeks ago. China reported its first Covid-related death last week after six months.

Last updated: November 23, 2022 | 13:46
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