Report: Riots break out at Foxconn factory in China
By Ed Flanagan, NBC News
Reports early Monday from China suggest that a mass disturbance or riots may have broken out at a Foxconn factory in the Chinese city of Taiyuan.
It is still unclear what exactly happened, but posts on China’s popular twitter-like service, Weibo, from users in the area show photographs and video of large numbers of police in and around the factory – many in riot gear – blocking off throngs of people.
Other photos show debris strewn around the Foxconn compound and in one case, an overturned guard tower.
According to popular tech blog engadget, the disturbance kicked off after Foxconn security guards allegedly hit a worker around 10 p.m. on Sunday.
Censors in China have reportedly already started deleting pictures from the scene.
This is not the first time that Foxconn has had problems with its Taiyuan facility, which is reportedly responsible for the fabrication of the back plate of the immensely popular new iPhone 5. In March, strikes broke out there after workers did not receive a pay raise they had reportedly been promised.
Meanwhile, Foxconn’s Chengdu plant in Sichuan province also has dealt with riots. In June, scores of Foxconn workers there got into a fight with a local restaurant owner that had to be broken up by police.
Foxconn is the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer responsible for much of the current production and assembly of Apple’s popular line of products as well as a wide variety of popular tech toys ranging from laptops to gaming consoles.
But Foxconn has been under fire for years for its tough working conditions, including long hours, low wages and strict rules on representation. The company has also dealt with a string of suicides at its plants across China, which led to the company in 2010 installing anti-jump nets to prevent more suicide attempts.
The company has taken steps to improve working conditions in its factories by reducing work hours and raising wages for its front-line workers.
Still, perhaps wary of the continued negative publicity that has plagued one of its primary manufacturers over the years, Apple recently took steps to diversify its portfolio of producers, recently awarding much of the manufacturing of its new iteration of the iPad to another Taiwanese company, Pegatron.