May 26

[Translation] Profile Of A Foxconn Suicide Jumper

Written by Charles Liu on Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 at 7:19 am
Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, General | Tags:, ,
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According to news articles collected by Chinese netters on Baidu Encyclopedia, the 7th Foxconn suicide jumper, Lu Xin, had exhibited mental imbalance. Despite of intervention by Foxconn, Lu took his own life:


Lu Xin

Lu Xin, 24 yeras old from Hunan, joined Foxconn Group on Aug 1 2009, part of Foxconn’s 2009 management trainee program. After the incident Foxconn gathered relevant employee, and reported to media. Investigation found, Lu Xin exhibited abnormal behavior prior to May 1 holiday, having thoughts of being chased. Foxconn then arranged employees familiar with Lu for councel and conversation, also contacted Lu’s family to provide care. Despite of these efforts, tragidy was not averted.

“He said someone is trying to kill him”

The incident occurred inside Foxconn’s Longhua Street factory district in Baoan District. When reporters arrived to the scene, police cordon was removed, only few bags covering the blood on the ground.

Zeng Hongling, friend of the deceased and coworker said, he and another friend were watching Lu the last few days before the suicide. Zeng is also an eye witness to the suicide. Zeng’s recollection may shed light on Lu Xin’s experience prior to suicide.

According to Zeng Hongling, Lu Xing is a cheerful person who enjoys singing, dancing, traveling, and keep good rapport with coworkers. Without the abnormal behavior in prior days, it’s hard to imagine Lu would take his own life. On Apr 30 2001, Zeng noticed Lu’s was mentally unwell, kept saying someone is following him, trying to kill him. “His mind wandered”, Zeng said. Zeng then reported this to Foxconn management, who then arranged for Zeng and another friend to comfort Lu Xin, hoping he would feel better.

After a few days, Lu Xin expressed desire to return to Hunan, but changed his mind when friends offered to buy the train ticket. On May 3, Zeng accompanied Lu to red wood forest for diversion, where Lu suddenly stopped ranger in the park and claim he’s been followed.

Zeng began to question Lu about his behavior, but Lu couldn’t give a reason, only that he felt the same way during high school when exam pressure was high. Fearing the worst, Zeng began to watch over Lu.

Family had headed for Shenzhen

“Couldn’t pull him back from the window”

At the same time, at the advice of psychologist, Foxconn contacted Lu Xin’s family, hoping they can come to Shenzhen to help settle Lu’s behavior. However due to scarcity of May 1 holiday train tickets, Lu’s mother and brother purchased tickets for May 5th, arriving in Shenzhen 9am on the 6th. However on May 5th 2010 around 4:30am jumped. Four and half hours later Lu Xin’s mother and brother can only visit his cold body. That afternoon Lu Xin’s family was so grieve stricken they were unable to conduct interview.

“He knew his family was coming”, said Lu’s manager Tsai Hongde. To calm Lu, Foxconn arranged to have Lu stay at the company hotel with friends while waiting for his family’s arrival. They talked all night and went to bed at 1:30am. 3 hours later Lu Xin complained the room was stuffy. “He opened the window and stared out, then suddenly jumped out the window. We tried to grab him, but Lu was already on the balcony headed for the railing. One friend had his arm but he got away.

The Police said: suspect suicide, reason under investigation. According to police, after the jump incident, emergency technicians found Lu Xin with serious injury, and slight sign of life. Lu was rushed to Longhua People’s Hospital, but efforts to save him was futile. That afternoon, Longhua police department representative Yao Yuegang said in an interview, based on evidence at the scene and interview of parties involved, Lu Xin died of suicide. Based on details Zeng and others had about the park trip, police were able to find the park ranger and verify he had tried to talk to Lu about his hallucination. As to what caused his hallucination that led to suicide, authority will continue to investigate.

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28 Responses to “[Translation] Profile Of A Foxconn Suicide Jumper”

  1. Legalist Says:

    By definition, all suicides result from mental issue, either short term problem or long term illness. It can be contageous because of imitation. In a way, it’s not good having so many young workers living in company dorms. The ideal solution is that people live in their own place close to family or social friends, while commuting to work.

  2. colin Says:

    Sounds like a classic case of schizophrenia brought on or made worse by stress. Sad, but there are millions who suffer from the same condition. This case gets notoriety mostly due to Foxconn.

  3. Charles Liu Says:

    As result of the string of suicides, Foxconn has informed their employees it will no longer pay compensation in case of suicide:


    Above article includes a picture of the letter. End of the letter includes an agreement to be signed by Foxconn employees that they will use employee help line, communicate with family, coworkers, superiors on difficulties, and the employee or family will not seek damage or defame the company in the event of suicide or self-mutiliation.

  4. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Sounds like his friends did what they could, but ultimately he probably needed professional help. What’s the availability of psychiatric help these days in a city that size in China? Also, there’s the level of help available, but also the person’s own desire to seek help. That desire might be affected by his own perception of the seriousness of his health issue, but also by the social stigma that can sometimes accompany a diagnosis of a psychiatric condition. What is the level of social acceptability of psychiatric illness in China?

  5. miaka9383 Says:

    First of all, this news is not that important to me. I am paying attention to it because it has made UDN headlines for the last month or so.


    so 1. I didn’t follow the news on OUR (American) media
    2. 12 person committing suicide and the year is only half way through… despite what the latest profile of the guy is, it is bizarre. It makes you question the management style of the company.
    3. Foxconn is a Taiwanese Company that is why Taiwanese media is focusing so much on it.

    From what I have seen and read, it seems like the it is the upper level management putting too much pressure on the factory workers. Something that Guo can’t over see all the time. But why is it that all of the articles that I have read are blaming the younger workers’ inability to handle pressure? I would think it is a management problem.

  6. Steve Says:

    Some news on this situation as today another worker committed suicide.

    Foxconn also rescinded the letter Charles mentioned about not paying compensation for suicides. Per the above article:

    “Gou apologized for a letter asking workers to promise not to kill themselves and to accept that their families would not receive extra compensation if they did so. He said he would withdraw the letter.”

  7. Nimrod Says:

    The string of suicides is definitely very odd. Some think it’s the workers overzealous with filial piety seeking death compensation. Some think it’s harsh working hours. Some think there are some hidden issues like beatings and that these aren’t all suicides. Some think it’s workers attempting escape. Some think it’s romantic relationship issues. Some think it’s a cult.

    None of these seem like particularly satisfying answers. Now Apple has noticed, and soon we may start to get to the bottom of this.

    Also, workers at a Honda plant have been striking. It seems labor in China is waking up after last year’s labor shortage, Hu Jintao’s May Day speech on working with dignity, and consumer inflation.

  8. S.K. Cheung Says:

    So far it looks like the company is policing itself, maybe with a little encouragement from her big customers. But is there a government/OSHA type agency that would be tasked with looking into this? Putting up nets is fantastic if you’re looking to prevent successful suicide attempts, but it probably doesn’t do much to curtail the suicide attempts themselves.

  9. Raj Says:

    I have a question, does anyone know whether the conditions of work in the factory that we’re aware of are legal in China? Should it be investigated for over-working its staff, or are local regulations too lax?

  10. miaka9383 Says:

    There are a lot of rumors and reports going around. That the workers were verbally abused and they are under tremendous amount of pressure to produce. But there are also reports that said the treatment of the facilities is neither good or bad it is just average. And there are other stories like Nimrod pointed out but it is all unconfirmed so no one really knows whats going on. The 13th jumper today survived in the hospital and he is recovering. But no one has any idea why the string of suicide.

  11. Raj Says:

    miaka, I understand I was just asking whether harsh conditions had been confirmed or not.

    Do you think that generally labour laws are too lax in China?

  12. miaka9383 Says:

    I do. It reminds me of what Taiwan used to be and still is to some extend when it comes to the laborers. Not saying Taiwan’s laborer’s situation is much better than China’s but I feel that these laborers are definitely getting taken advantage of. I am spoiled in that I work under a system where 40 hr week is normal and overtime is not necessarily compulsory and the labor laws are enforced and more mature. I feel pity for the workers that has to live in company dormitory and gets paid minimal and all they do is eat work sleep.

  13. Nimrod Says:

    This is a hot topic of discussion these days (and not censored … maybe because most of the flack is taken by Foxconn so far). Now Foxconn has announced a 20% raise for its workers, which it claims was always in the works.

    Whatever the reason for the suicides, the topic of China’s bottom-feeding role in the global manufacturing business is also being debated more widely. Maybe this will be an impetus for a quicker structural shift.

    Value added in the value chain. The four Chinese contract assembling companies at the bottom.

    Parody Apple ad

  14. Steve Says:

    @Nimrod #13: When I saw that flowchart, it reminded me of a recent article from WAPO’s John Pomfret discussing the same subject. Here are a few excerpts (I highlighted two paragraphs I thought were most noteworthy):

    Quick: Think of a Chinese brand name.
    Japan has Sony. Mexico has Corona. Germany has BMW. South Korea? Samsung.
    And China has . . . ?

    If you’re stumped, you’re not alone. And for China, that is an enormous problem.

    Last year, China overtook Germany to become the world’s largest exporter, and this year it could surpass Japan as the world’s No. 2 economy. But as China gains international heft, its lack of global brands threatens its dream of becoming a superpower.

    No big marquee brands means China is stuck doing the global grunt work in factory cities while designers and engineers overseas reap the profits. Much of Apple’s iPhone, for example, is made in China. But if a high-end version costs $750, China is lucky to hold on to $25. For a pair of Nikes, it’s four pennies on the dollar.

    “We’ve lost a bucketload of money to foreigners because they have brands and we don’t,” complained Fan Chunyong, the secretary general of the China Industrial Overseas Development and Planning Association. “Our clothes are Italian, French, German, so the profits are all leaving China. . . . We need to create brands, and fast.”

    The problem is exacerbated by China’s lack of successful innovation and its reliance on stitching and welding together products that are imagined, invented and designed by others. A failure to innovate means China is trapped paying enormous amounts in patent royalties and licensing fees to foreigners who are.

    China’s government has responded in typically lavish fashion, launching a multibillion-dollar effort to create brands, encourage innovation and protect its market from foreign domination.

    Through tax breaks and subsidies, China has embraced what it calls “a going-out strategy,” backing firms seeking to buy foreign businesses, snap up natural resources or expand their footprint overseas.

    Domestically, it has launched the “indigenous innovation” program to encourage its companies to manufacture high-tech goods by forcing foreign firms to hand over their trade secrets and patents if they want to sell their products there.

    The 34 Chinese companies on the Fortune 500 list basically operate in China only. The world’s three biggest banks are Chinese, but none is among the world’s top 50, ranked by the extent of their geographical spread.

    China is estimated to have paid foreign firms more than $100 billion in royalties to use mobile telephone technology developed in the West, according to executives of Western communications companies.

    So in the late 1990s, it decided to develop its own. But after more than $30 billion in development costs, its unique technology still has fewer than 20 million users in a market of more than 500 million.

    “China is still stuck,” said Joerg Wuttke, former president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and a 25-year veteran of doing business in China. “There is a huge disconnect between the money spent in universities and the lack of products.”

    China also faces enormous challenges to creating globalized firms. Studies of Chinese executives show that they spend far more time with government officials — who in China are the key to their profits — than with customers, who are the key to international success.

    It’s a four page article so if anyone is interested in reading it in it’s entirety, I posted the link at the top.

  15. jxie Says:

    Steve if you don’t mind me being brutally honest, to me Pomfret seemingly has mailed it in and taken a semi-retiring editor role. In the past, despite my dislike of his and WaPo’s reporting style, at least he gave you original stories and unique insights. Now he is just plainly dull.

    Fast Company, one of my favorite magazines, is very good at catching the new and upcoming trends. It has this list of 50 most innovative companies. In it 2010 edition, Huawei (#5), BYD (#16), Alibaba (#29), Huayi Brothers (#42) are the Chinese firms on the list — bear in mind Fast Company is a very America-centric magazine. Huawei as of now is probably more innovative than Ericsson and Nokia Siemens (the 2 remaining relavant Western telecom equipment companies) combined. BYD’s electric car e6 with a 300 km per-charge range, was just released in Shenzhen for taxi road test, ahead of schedule. These are the mind-share gainer type of companies — the giants such as China Mobile, China Telecom, ICBC, BOC, Sinopec, China Life, etc. would never make the list.

    A confluence of factors is in play here. First the age group that is entering the labor force now is largely matching the total lifetime school hours of their American peers; and the age group that is leaving the labor force due to Mao’s CR didn’t have any college education. This is a lagging factor that will take the upcoming years and decades to manifest itself. Then there is the market size factor. For instance, companies such as BYD, Chery, Baidu, Tencent all have health growth potentials without even seriously considering growing the oversea markets, granted the former two are fairly active in that regard. Anyway for a world traveler with a keen business eye, listing 50 Chinese brand names shouldn’t be that tough. For anyone who is ahead of the curve, a new trend is fairly apparent.

  16. Nimrod Says:

    That Pomfret article must have been published somewhere older because I swear I’ve read it before.

    IPO’s are picking up in China, and there are definitely enough innovative brains in China. The leading indicator of education is turning green, too. However, there is still too much government involvement for the private sector to be healthy. jxie is right, too many state monopolies soaking up capital. Pomfret is also right about bureaucrat intrusion. This all retards progress and kills many small-scale private businesses at birth. These companies are the kind where you’ve never heard their names, and by their large quantity alone would it be possible to soak up laid off workers should export manufacturing be curbed. The mid-sized and large-sized places that get IPO’s are not enough, since they are labor-light and technology intensive.

  17. Fobtacular Says:

    @ #14 Steve
    An authoritarian society will never produce world class entrepreneur, people with creativity will eventually leave China and settle in foreign country. Chinese brand issues is a political issue. The type of people that can innovate like Steve Job can not survive in Chinese society.

  18. No99 Says:

    This is nothing against you Nimrod just whoever made the image.

    I understand that the apple ad is a parody but it is very cruel if you think about it. For people who have thought and attempted suicide for various reasons, it really is no laughing matter. Not every suicidal person is by medical definition mentally ill.

    Mental Illness isn’t seen in the same way by professionals as the rest of us. A child psychologist told me that everyone exhibits some measure of symptoms related to mental diseases, and they can judge it accordingly depending how much the issues interfere with your daily activities.

    I’m not sure for this situation or other related cases, but it’s going to take a lot more effort in helping people value their lives than changes in management styles and social stigmas. They can help though.

  19. Nimrod Says:


    I agree at the theoretical level. Limits on creativity in one realm tends to interfere with creativity in another realm. Many humans can’t effectively divide their brains into compartments where one side is always self-censoring, and another side is being bold. It just doesn’t work like that psychologically. It would be like split personality or mental disease. I suspect many Chinese people become 变态 (perverted) for this reason. 😀

    However it’s not an absolute like “can’t succeed,” because China is a big place and there are places and people operating beyond conventional limits. But it is an under-utilization issue. The innovation potential is not fully tapped especially in the middle-class. It’s also not all political. It’s social. the society itself favors the methodical over the radical. It’s economic. People are in what Jimmy Carter called the national malaise or what Chinese call 浮躁 — aimlessness. Let’s see what the future brings.

  20. No99 Says:

    To have radical innovation, one must really go against the grain. Meaning the individuals not only have to “rebel” against internal social attitudes and government policies but everyone else in the world, including the “innovative” developed countries.

    In China’s case, the people can only emulate so much. They can develop similar education systems, legal systems, business environments, etc. In many ways, it will have to be similar because people around the world need to relate and do business with one another. However, it will have to be something really different and only on the Chinese citizen’s own terms. The language, geography, awareness of their “Chinese-ness”, a whole host of factors is what makes them unique. Many people around the world are aware of this, surely the Chinese should know just as much if not more about themselves.

    Relatively speaking, because there’s the issue with obtaining information in China.

    This is an example. Europe and America may have a lot in common. However, there’s enough significant differences where some systems are uniquely “American” and some that can only be applied to the nations in Europe.

  21. Steve Says:

    @ JXie, Nimrod, Fobtacular & No99: Thanks for all the well thought out comments. My feeling is probably closer to Nimrod’s comment #16. Based on my own experiences there, I think that the Chinese as a people are certainly innovative. All I have to do is look at what Chinese immigrants have contributed to their adopted cultures. Having said that, there’s a big difference between how business is done in China compared to the western world. I didn’t link to Pomfret’s post because I agreed with every word, but just to put the topic on the table.

    In the Chinese education system, innovation is simply not allowed all the way through the university level. I heard this over and over again not just from graduates but also students that were currently in the system. Shanghai Jiatong, which is an excellent university, was where I knew the most graduates and students so as a top level school, if they discourage innovation then I’d think it was pretty pervasive throughout the system, though that is only conjecture on my part. Stories about the other universities that graduated friends of mine were all from their time there and not present circumstances. I talked to a physics professor in a California university who had several grad students from Qinghua University under his tutelage. He said that they had a very difficult time coming up with ideas of their own to test and expected to be told what to do. That fit in with what I had heard in China from the undergraduates themselves.

    Establishing a world brand requires the company to think global but act local. This is a constant complaint of many Chinese companies when trying to do business with western companies, that they just don’t understand the Chinese market. If we compare Pizza Hut’s success with Domino’s Pizza, one went local while one tried to imitate what had worked in their home market. The results were predictable.

    It’s no different in branding. You have to market per the culture you are selling to. The Japanese are the best example to use in this regard. Their expertise was to perfect a product and then market it well. Sony was the exception; they were excellent in coming up with new products but they also didn’t have the support of the government as an old line company. In China, the government is so pervasively involved with the success or failure of companies that their involvement stifles creativity.

    So my guess is that if international brands develop in China, they’ll be from companies located far from Beijing and ones that were not successful because of government sponsorship. So I’m not saying it’s impossible under the current government but I think it’s fair to say that it’s very difficult under the present government. And maybe I ought to say, very difficult under the current administration. I feel the Hu administration has put more restrictions on business than the Jiang administration before it. The bureaucracy seems to be exerting more control over the economy than in the past. This might be good for planning purposes but I don’t think it’s been good for innovation.

    JXie, all the brands you mentioned are big in China but not found on the shelves of my local Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics, so I can’t consider them to be global brands. The one company that positioned itself to be global was Lenovo, and they were patently unsuccessful in doing so. What buying the IBM technology did for them was improve their marketing in China along with improving their overall product. But they recently brought back their original chairman whose first pronouncement was to say that they would emphasize the Chinese market over international business.

    The Chinese market is so large, especially in its potential, that companies can be very successful without having international success, especially if the government is helping in their domestic market penetration. So maybe a better analogy for the bigger Chinese companies might be “Think local, act global”?

    BTW, I also thought that the cartoon that No99 referred to was a cheap shot. Apple isn’t Foxconn and shouldn’t be blamed for any of this. To do so would mean you’d have to blame all of Foxconn’s customers, which includes just about every high tech company in the world.

  22. No99 Says:

    On the immediate level, the strength of the education system here in the US is that students are encourage to make their own decisions and take risks. They need to know that in the end, it is their choices that determine what will happen in their own lives. However, this practice takes time and resources to encourage that environment. There’s the luxury where young people in the US can work, do productive extracurricular activities and go to school at the same time. More added experiences. Something that isn’t available in a lot of places. In a way, the communities have to afford it.

    Some subjects, especially in the introduction phases, do need the rote memory and step by step guidance by instructors. People need to get the basics down. Most of the problems with innovation is trying to improve the basic functions. To do this people have to be very competent with their skills, in which the rote memory and step by step guidance helps tremendously. Creativity, by it’s basic definition, helps too. Figuring out a different route can be just as significant as imagining something out of this world.

    However, to allow students to come up with solutions to problems are pretty tricky. What happens in the classroom doesn’t always translate well in the work environment.

    The truth is that there isn’t any empirical evidence to support age based class systems, the grading system, and a whole lot of variables of the Modern education system. There’s enough issues within the system, and 100% emulation doesn’t help because the needs and foundations are different for each society. So, back to the point I made, China can only learn so much from others until they can make something on their own.

    I think Steve made a good point about the size of the Chinese market. It’s really big enough on it’s own. Things have been that way since the beginning of China’s history. However, to act global will be tougher but can be accomplish.

  23. Steve Says:

    I read this article from Business Week that makes some sense to me. Here are a few excerpts:

    June 2 (Bloomberg) — Ah Wei has an explanation for Foxconn Technology Group Chairman Terry Gou why some of his workers are committing suicide at the company’s factory near the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

    “Life is meaningless,” said Ah Wei, his fingernails stained black with the dust from the hundreds of mobile phones he has burnished over the course of a 12-hour overnight shift. “Everyday, I repeat the same thing I did yesterday. We get yelled at all the time. It’s very tough around here.”

    Conversation on the production line is forbidden, bathroom breaks are kept to 10 minutes every two hours and constant noise from the factory washes past his ear plugs, damaging his hearing, Ah Wei said. The company has rejected three requests for a transfer and his monthly salary of 900 yuan ($132) is too meager to send money home to his family, said the 21-year-old, who asked that his real name not be used because he is afraid of his managers.

    Inside the compound, at a factory devoted to computer motherboards, rows of young men and women stand at assembly lines, their feet shod in blue slippers and white caps on their heads. The smell of solvent hangs in the air. About 80 percent of the front-line production employees work standing up, some for 12 hours a day for six days a week, according to Liu Bin, a 24-year-old employee.

    “It’s hard to make friends because you aren’t allowed to chat with your colleagues during work,” Liu said at Shenzhen Kang Ning Hospital where he was seeking help for insomnia. “Most of us have little education and have no skills so we have no choice but to do this kind of jobs. I feel no sense of achievement and I’ve become a machine.”

    The company provides counseling for workers such as Liu, according to supervisor Geng Yubin. Geng, who has worked six years at Foxconn, says between 30 and 50 workers come to him daily for advice on their personal lives. Common problems are homesickness, financial woes, lovers’ quarrels and spats with co-workers, Geng said.

    “For many of the young people who are here, this is the first time they’ve been away from home,” Geng said. “Without their families, they’re left without direction. We try to provide them with direction and help.”

    The suicides and how to stop them mystify Gou.

    “Are we going to have this happen again?” said Gou, speaking on May 27 when he opened the factory to the largest media gathering in company history. “From a logical, scientific standpoint, I don’t have a grasp on that. No matter how you force me, I don’t know.”

    Less than a day after Gou made the remarks, a 23-year-old Foxconn worker jumped to his death, according to the Shenzhen police. Another worker slit his wrist and was hospitalized.

    Born October 8, 1950 in Taipei to parents who emigrated from China’s Shanxi Province, Gou formed his company in 1974 with $7,500. Over 36 years, he transformed the supplier of plastic television knobs to the maker of iPhones and Sony Corp. PlayStations. Hon Hai Precision Industry generates more revenue each year than Microsoft Corp., Apple and Dell Inc. His net worth reached $5.9 billion this year, according to Forbes Magazine. He owns 10.8 percent of the company as its largest shareholder, according to Bloomberg data. Hon Hai Precision has dropped 21 percent so far this year.

    “The fundamental problem for Foxconn and other Chinese factories is that their business model relies on a low-cost workforce sourced from rural areas of China,” said Pun Ngai, a professor of applied social sciences at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “Due to its size, Foxconn has to be that much tougher than other factories, and has to become more emotionally detached from its employees than others.”

    In addition to Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, the world’s largest and third-largest personal-computer makers, have begun investigations of Foxconn. Dell spokesman Jess Blackburn and Hewlett-Packard spokeswoman Shelby Watts declined to comment on the status of the investigations.

    Foxconn’s working conditions are among the best in China, said Huang Ping-der, an Associate Professor of Business Administration at Taipei’s National Chengchi University. The recent suicides in China have highlighted weaknesses in the company’s management structure, he said.

    China had a suicide rate of 16.9 people out of 100,000 taking their own lives in 2004, according to estimates from the World Health Organization.

    Foxconn raised pay for workers by 30 percent to 1,200 yuan from 900 yuan a month, spokesman Ding said today. The additional money may not be enough to stem the suicides, according to Xiao Qi, a college graduate who works at Foxconn in product development. He earns 2,000 yuan a month, yet gets no joy from his job, he said.

    “I do the same thing every day; I feel empty inside,” said Xiao, who said he has considered suicide. “I have no future.”

    Can you imagine standing on your feet for 12 hours per day at 18 years old in a place where you know no one, doing the same thing without any change for months or years? I can’t. It reminds me of that old I Love Lucy show where she is working on the chocolate assembly line and can’t keep up with the pace.

  24. Rhan Says:

    “Can you imagine standing on your feet for 12 hours per day at 18 years old in a place where you know no one, doing the same thing without any change for months or years? I can’t.”

    Steve, do you know that this is the exact complaint I hear from the Japanese investor that the Malaysian worker not willing to stand for even eight hours, always chatting, like to go toilet and smoking, and often raise their head and take a glimpse who is walking by, they mention that all this never happen in their China plant and this is the reason why the plant I work with reduce the total product line from 30 to less than 10 and the number of worker is now merely 400 while at the peak is more than 3000.

    I think we can’t pinpoint the blamed to any specific company as everyone is doing the same. My feeling is that life being a Chinese(worker) in China is tough, very tough.

  25. HKer Says:

    出左半斤力 想話羅番足八兩… “6 of one, half a dozen of the other”

    “You don’t always get what you want, or rewarded for your efforts”

    This was the lamentation of HK working class small potatoes ‘in the 1970s…..



    Beyond 翻唱〈半斤八两〉
    作曲:許冠傑, 編曲:
    監製:, 填詞:許冠傑

    我地呢班打工仔 通街走糴直頭係壞腸胃


    *出左半斤力 想話羅番足八兩
    家陣惡搵食 邊有半斤八兩咁理想(吹漲)
    我地呢班打工仔 一生一世為錢幣做奴隸


  26. Steve Says:

    Here’s an article in the NY Times that discusses Foxconn’s raises and the consequence for Chinese manufacturing in general. A few excerpts:

    In announcing the wage increase late Sunday, the company, a unit of Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, said that within three months the basic salaries of many of its 800,000 workers in China could reach nearly $300 a month, about double what many were earning a few weeks ago.

    The increase is the strongest sign yet that labor costs are soaring in China’s biggest manufacturing centers and that consumers in other countries may eventually be forced to pay more for a wide range of goods that are made here.

    Last week, the Japanese automaker Honda settled a two-week-long strike at its transmission plant in southern China by agreeing to raises of 24 to 34 percent, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations.

    Also last week, Foxconn said that it would immediately raise the salaries of its Chinese workers by 33 percent. The announcement led several other major manufacturers to say that they may also be forced to raise salaries.

    Economists say soaring labor costs in China could change the cost structure of global supply chains.

    “These moves are symbolic and significant,” says Dong Tao, a Hong Kong-based economist at Credit Suisse. “The outcome is simple: manufacturers either improve productivity, shrink their margins or pass the costs on to consumers.”

    Experts say China’s booming economy has led to labor shortages and fierce competition for young workers in this country’s coastal manufacturing centers, where a huge share of the world’s toys, textiles and electronics are made and assembled. And now, with food and housing prices soaring in China, many factory workers are beginning to demand higher salaries and better working conditions.

    Beijing is backing some of the demands, encouraging local governments in various parts of the country to raise the minimum wage. The government hopes the moves will ease anxieties over inflation and help combat a widening income gap between the rich and the poor.

    Foxconn executives have blamed social ills and say the suicides are not work related. But company executives say they are all they can to stop workers from attempting suicide and to improve working conditions at its huge plants in Shenzhen.

    As recently as two weeks ago, the basic salary for many workers at Foxconn’s huge factories in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen was about 900 renminbi a month, or about $132 a month.

    Last week, Foxconn said that salary would immediately rise to $176 a month. And now, the company says that after a three-month trial period, workers will be paid $294 a month.

    The suicides are not work related? Maybe one or two, but to say work conditions have nothing to do with it is nonsense.

  27. Slack-man Says:

    There is only one reason why one group is wealthy and another is poor. Exploitation of those who make things. Humans treat each other like shit. The jerk with the most resources exploits those who work at the bottom to widen his profit margin.

    Corporate moguls would be completely unnessisary if workers could organize and motivate themselves efficiently. Unfortunately, humans are not a genitically identical species motivated by pheromone fluctuations regulated by a queen. We are a genetically heterogenous crowd of beings that are motivated by a diverse environmental, emotional, and genetic triggers. What works for one human will not nessisarily work for another.

    China has fully embraced unregulated capitalism, and the west has embraced their production inexpensive products. Shipping costs would be prohibitive if comparible international wages were enforced. Thus, we have the huge disparity in income. In order to soar to great heights and exert great international power, entrepenuers must exploit their workers and the system to the fullest extent while maintaining the illusion of greater prosperity. The mega corporations claim they are efficient, and productive. In reality, they cut corners and destroy as much as they create. It is an unsustainable juggernaught that will eventually move on to the next unexploited country once wages get too high.

    Eventually, we are all going to pay for it in the end. These guys who commit suicide are all asking themselves the same question… What’s the point?

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