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Chinese Students Say They Are Being Forced To Build Your Next iPhone

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the after-school-job dept.

China 481

pigrabbitbear writes "Now that Apple is putting the finishing touches on the most anticipated smartphone in history, Chinese students are again being pressed into service on the factory line inside the largest single internship program in the world. This according to two separate stories in the Chinese press. A report today in the Shanghai Daily says that hundreds of students in the city of Huai'an were forced to help fulfill iPhone 5 orders starting last Thursday. Classes in town had allegedly been interrupted as a result, since the two-month long internships would fulfill the students' need to 'experience working conditions.'"

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Well, I was forced to serve them hamburgers (4, Interesting)

BMOC (2478408) | about 2 years ago | (#41254335)

...so it evens out in college.

//never actually worked in the food service industry
///maybe a small regret in my life

Re:Well, I was forced to serve them hamburgers (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41254631)

...so it evens out in college.

//never actually worked in the food service industry ///maybe a small regret in my life

Sure, but 'Internship' doesn't necessarily mean they get pay, they just get credit. In college I was paid for my programming efforts (also got to use a little of it for credit :)

... and on my résumé, you can see I majored in slave labor ...

Re:Well, I was forced to serve them hamburgers (5, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41254991)

... and on my résumé, you can see I majored in slave labor ...

And those that are aware of this should not purchase an iPhone.
I am proud to not own an iPhone. I am proud in knowing that the % of profits from my phone are minimal and did not come from slave labor.
Remember when people were proud to own USA items? Perhaps it is time to bring that back.

Re:Well, I was forced to serve them hamburgers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255083)

... and on my résumé, you can see I majored in slave labor ...

And those that are aware of this should not purchase an iPhone.

I am proud to not own an iPhone. I am proud in knowing that the % of profits from my phone are minimal and did not come from slave labor.

Remember when people were proud to own USA items? Perhaps it is time to bring that back.

Hear hear. Question: where do you find a phone that is made in the USA? AIUI, pretty much any smartphone you want to buy is made in China, in large part.

im sorry to tell you this, but your phone (3, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#41255099)

probably comes from the same factory as the iphone, or if not, then the factory down the street, and since nobody is putting pressure on Samsung to 'clean up its supply chain' (since its in Korea after all) then Samsung does not hire inspectors to go harass factory managers to clean up their act.

Re:Well, I was forced to serve them hamburgers (5, Informative)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#41254899)

"Forced" doesn't mean "I had to do it because I needed the money" in China. There, as elsewhere in the Communist world, there is this thing called "brigadier movement", where students (highschool and university) and sometimes older people "volunteer" to help some sector of the economy, usually for free (awful) food and no pay.

When I was a kid, we used to "help" agriculture most often, at it was the most underpopulated sector. The "help" would usually take place around the start of the school year, during the time of the harvest, but also during the summer vacation.

From the description of the article I think this is the same thing -- the authorities rounding up people to "help" the industry.

The only difference is that when I was doing it, we were doing it for the "country". Now it is for Foxconn.

Re:Well, I was forced to serve them hamburgers (1, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41255035)

The only difference is that when I was doing it, we were doing it for the "country". Now it is for Foxconn.

There is a difference?

Re:Well, I was forced to serve them hamburgers (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#41255047)

Say, when will the revolt begin?

It's an internship. (1, Troll)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41254341)

Almost all of us have done it. I'm certainly no fan of Apple but this appears to be making something out of a routine event.

Re:It's an internship. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254401)

It's not about students applying to foxconn for a part time job. It's about the univeristy they work for ordering students who had no previous relations to foxconn to go work there and suspending classes as a result.

Re:It's an internship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254619)

It's not about students applying to foxconn for a part time job. It's about the university they work for ordering students who had no previous relations to foxconn to go work there and suspending classes as a result.

What sort of university is that?!

Re:It's an internship. (5, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41254721)

What sort of university is that?!

A university in a totalitarian country? E.g., it was traditional in the countries of the Eastern Bloc for (state-owned) schools to send pupils to do "voluntary work" for the (state-owned and fairly inefficient) agriculture. Technically, nobody forced the students to do that, but you know...the universities could accommodate only so many students, they had to pick...see where the whole thing is going?

Re:It's an internship. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254865)

I see, most of the drones here do not.

As more and more of USA industry is nationalized this is exactly where we are heading.

WELCOME TO THE LAND OF THE SOVIETS WHERE LABOR IS FREE

Re:It's an internship. (2)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 2 years ago | (#41254985)

I see, most of the drones here do not.

As more and more of USA industry is nationalized this is exactly where we are heading.

WELCOME TO THE LAND OF THE SOVIETS WHERE LABOR IS FREE

Since Obama's inauguration we've seen a huge drop in public sector employment and an increase in private sector employment. In other words, industry is less and less nationalized on our current trajectory.

Re:It's an internship. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255033)

"a huge drop in public sector employment and an increase in private sector employment."

What world do you live in? Unemployment has been over 8% for the longest time in RECORDED HISTORY under Obama. I can support my statement but I am not going to bother as you are a drone. You must support yours.

Go ahead, make my day.

Re:It's an internship. (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#41255039)

You are not counting GM?

Re:It's an internship. (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | about 2 years ago | (#41254789)

What sort of university is that?!

Hard Knocks U.

Re:It's an internship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254881)

What sort of university is that?!

Hard Knocks U.

More like, Screw U.

Hey, at least they have a good sports program!

Re:It's an internship. (5, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41254683)

China isn't really like north america or europe in this regard. I wouldn't be surprised if the entire government in the area (district or even prefecture) is actually just an extension of foxconn (legally, officially), and if you're at their school you can be told to work at their factory, they pay for it after all. You can't take one of their products into their town, you can't set up a vegetable stall without their permission and in their town etc. This isn't some mom and pop little GM assembly plant with 6000 employees. This is a small factory with only 40 000 workers that they need to expand (http://www.tuaw.com/2012/05/21/foxconn-building-new-production-line-for-apple-products/ )

Conceptually it's much like factory towns elsewhere, with varying degrees of official backing, and institutionalizing who actually runs the show.

There is also, in china at least, some measure of communist collective effort and coercion still. This has to be done, so we all pitch in to do it, because it's for the good of the country, or else. And to some degree they're right - without a strong collective effort they wouldn't be where they are. Of course if they cared about their workers they'd be paying a lot more than 250 dollars a month, but lets not go crazy here, you need to keep costs down to stay competitive.

The government can always conscript you and and then send you to work digging trenches, fighting wars or building schools if they want. Normally rich countries don't resort to that in all but the most extreme circumstances, but for china a million iphones probably brings in 10 or 15 million dollars (http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2012/01/31/how-much-of-the-iphone-is-made-in-china/). That's a lot of money, especially since, if you look at the first link I had, they're talking about only a 56 million dollar factory. There is a strategic interest in doing whatever it takes to meet that demand rather than risk letting somewhere else pick up the sales - and that's only direct wages for the phone assembly, there's all of the components manufactured in china as well - and they want to be seen as doing whatever it takes to keep it that way. China is taking 'being accommodating to business' as far as you can take it without outright allowing slavery - and that is deliberate.

Re:It's an internship. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254917)

"And to some degree they're right - without a strong collective effort they wouldn't be where they are."

Bullshit. No economic system has produced more wealth, more prosperity, lower rates of poverty than the free market. You do not know your history, as from your post you appear to be from communist China. Here in the states we did just fine without collectivism for many many decades.

"Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff." --Zappa

Re:It's an internship. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254983)

I wouldn't be surprised if the entire government in the area (district or even prefecture) is actually just an extension of foxconn (legally, officially)

It's a communist regime, no matter how capitalistic they might seem, it's still the same, meaning, your statement is actually backwards, foxconn and every other chinese company is in fact an extension of the government. This isn't an assumption, but fact.

In the East European countries, under the communist rule, this happened all the time, and at a much grander scale. You finished high-school or whatever, you were assigned a job. If they needed a mechanic, then you were a mechanic, if they needed someone to push carts around, then that's what you would do. That you were studying to become a doctor or a teacher or something else, it really didn't matter that much.

That's the reason half the population lives in towns, because most of them were forcibly moved to be become a ready source of labor.

It's kind of sad to see that kind of regime in today's age and most people raise so much fuss about some minor complaint regarding their favorite toys, when they do so much worse to others ...

Don't get me wrong, I may dislike the current type of "democracy", but only because I've lived the alternative.

Re:It's an internship. (0)

JimCanuck (2474366) | about 2 years ago | (#41254993)


In China under the law students MUST complete these kinds of internships, only before they were required BEFORE being accepted to University, and they tended to send the kids thousands of kilometres away to rural farm lands to do the work.

Only if their local population they were working for thought they were good workers did you actually get approved to join university regardless of your scores on the entrance exams. Compared to past generations a summer of work in a air conditioned full service company like Foxxcon is a blessing.

Re:It's an internship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254407)

Atleast, it is a paid internship. When I was in college, the economy was so bad that I had to take an unpaid internship (which fortunately did turn into a full-time job)

Re:It's an internship. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254429)

Did you read TFA? "A student [...] said 200 students from her school had been driven to the factory. [...] Several other students from at least five colleges backed up what she said, saying they were being forced to work for 12 hours a day. [...] Foxconn was badly in need of 10,000 workers but students were looking forward to returning to classrooms to continue their academic studies which had been seriously disrupted." How is this a routine event?

Re:It's an internship. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254597)

If true the students will learn an actual real world skill in between academic studies - how to get fucked by a corporation.

Re:It's an internship. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254967)

This is not a corporation but the state. This *is* communist China, nothing happens without the state determining it is the right thing to do. You understand this right?

Re:It's an internship. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255069)

And you understand a state is in effect a corporation, right? RIGHT?

Re:It's an internship. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255015)

If true the students will learn an actual real world skill in between academic studies - how to get fucked by a government.

you mispelled government, I corrected it for you.

why students for a job that does not need college (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41254745)

why students for a job that does not need college and make it in to a internship that is no pay / way under min wage.

also 6 days a week a 12 hours a day is a full time job with overtime and not a part time internship.

This a intern abuse at it's extreme.

Now if the school is really looking out for the students they should makeing it so that the intern are learning about there field and are not just being used as full time extra hands.

Re:why students for a job that does not need colle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255029)

Because internship is compulsory in China. It encourages schools to pick the worst jobs which make most money for schools themselves.

That's what ought to happen when you combine Capitalism with the unchecked state power of Communism.

Re:why students for a job that does not need colle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255075)

Until there are some "proof" beyond some obscure websites and shanghaidaily.com (an exclusively English website...another words operated by foreign interests in all likelihood (Chinese media tend to have both Chinese and English versions, if English is offered); not that there is anything wrong with that, but western controlled media pretty much have proven to be mouthpieces of the screwed up western government agenda).

If the practical experience is part of the college program, then there is not much story here (I had to do some pretty mindless mundane duties as a student back in the day).

And if the story has some substance, it's a first mention of this protocol out of any country that I personally have ever heard of (another words: unlikely to be the whole story).

Re:why students for a job that does not need colle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255087)

It's Apples new Motto - You just work!

Re:It's an internship. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41254753)

Well this factory is new, but this might be routine for china, and if it happens once every 2 or 3 years then it happens on whatever cycle, it's only going to hit you once or twice in your academic career, if it hits you at all.

Re:It's an internship. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254457)

Almost all of us have done it. I'm certainly no fan of Apple but this appears to be making something out of a routine event.

You call a government program to meet manufacturing quotas for the purpose of moving large amounts of money from the US to China by mandating the participation of students on factory assembly lines a "routine event"? No, cpu6502, that is not at all something that "almost all" of us have done.

Re:It's an internship. (1, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41255063)

Would rather serve 2 months in a factory, learning valuable work skills (internship), then spend 1-2 years in the military as is the case in almost all European democracies. Purely from an unbiased view, the European mandate looks worse.

Re:It's an internship. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254541)

If this really did bother the students that much they would commit suicide to protest it.
That is the true measure.

Re:It's an internship. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41254645)

Almost all of us have done it. I'm certainly no fan of Apple but this appears to be making something out of a routine event.

The CCP is more than happy to ensure Apple has an ample supply of phones, too, meaning Apple should find great happiness and luck with Chinese workers!

Somehow I didn't feel I was compeled by the government to work for my employers while I was in college ... how times change!

Re:It's an internship. (-1, Troll)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#41255007)

-1 Troll? Because I am of the opinion that a Student internship is no big deal? Way to censor freedom of expression by making my post invisible (score 0 or lower).

Re:It's an internship. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#41255115)

You posted something that excuses Apple's behavior by not painting the story as something evil that Apple is doing. I'm surprised all you got was a -1 mod.

The most anticipated smartphone, huh (4, Insightful)

Lumpio- (986581) | about 2 years ago | (#41254361)

Based on which measurement?

Re:The most anticipated smartphone, huh (4, Funny)

BMOC (2478408) | about 2 years ago | (#41254385)

Based on Pew Research studies and calibrated anticipation meters around the world.

What is the global SI-standard for anticipation you say? Well, it's measured in Daikatanas...

Re:The most anticipated smartphone, huh (1)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about 2 years ago | (#41254495)

What is the global SI-standard for anticipation you say? Well, it's measured in Daikatanas...

Ah, I was wondering what John Romero was up to these days.

Re:The most anticipated smartphone, huh (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41254579)

Thatls LePew!

Re:The most anticipated smartphone, huh (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41254719)

Winner.

Is disappointment measured in Masseffects? Actually, there's a lot of units contending for that position. :(

Re:The most anticipated smartphone, huh (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41254661)

Based on which measurement?

Quite. Quite.

I'm more excited by the Kindle Fire HD than I am by any phone from Apple. Phones are for me bugging other people, not for them bugging me.

Re:The most anticipated smartphone, huh (1)

B33RM17 (1243330) | about 2 years ago | (#41254935)

Same, I was much more curious of what Amazon had to offer than Apple.

Re:The most anticipated smartphone, huh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254965)

Based on iPhone paid shills and cult members bullshiting about version += 1.

Isn't This What Americans Wanted After All? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254383)

More job creators right?? Well looks like Apple is creating a whole ton of jo... oops wait... that's not how that works. Nevermind...

stoops

Year Zero (1, Redundant)

puddingebola (2036796) | about 2 years ago | (#41254393)

This is the year zero. The previous education you received is cultural pollution. Steve Jobs is a deity. Begin learning the new revolutionary doctrine of iPhone 5.

How Low Can Apple Go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254445)

Not long now until they starting calling it the wife beater phone...

Re:How Low Can Apple Go? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 2 years ago | (#41254479)

Oh cool, the Astronaut iPhone!

Yes, because we all know that (-1, Offtopic)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41254475)

HTC, Samsung, Nokia, Acer et al don't use Chinese laborers, and in some cases the same goddamn factories. And they certainly don't pull from the same pool of workers. No sir. This is all the iPhone's fault and you should feel terrible for wanting one. But go ahead and demand that new Android phone, that's morally clean because it's Google software and they do no evil.

Re:Yes, because we all know that (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254493)

Tu quoque is never an excuse.

Re:Yes, because we all know that (1)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41254761)

And Slashdot's incredible hatred of all things Apple does not forgive the other manufacturers' workforce transgressions, but yet those are still conveniently overlooked as everyone feigns outrage and loudly declares that they will never buy another Apple product (while failing to mention that they never have and never intended to anyway).

Re:Yes, because we all know that (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41254531)

Actually no other phone/tablet has so many preorders and so much rush to get it on the day it becomes available. So yeah there is no sudden spike for other companies, and they dont need to bring in temporary students to fill the rush.

Re:Yes, because we all know that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254651)

You are right about that. No need to have massive quantities made before hand when Apple is just going to get your product banned from import anyway. For example the HTC OneX that was available for a few days in May, then couldn't be imported for a bit and went out of stock. (We got ours the day they came out May 6th).

Re:Yes, because we all know that (0, Flamebait)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41254727)

Totally loving the -1, Disagree moderating as well. Middle school must be out for the day.

Re:Yes, because we all know that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254747)

Well, someone did address your point. And you most definitely are offtopic.

Re:Yes, because we all know that (0)

Revotron (1115029) | about 2 years ago | (#41254851)

Well Mr. Coward, considering that my comments are addressing the situation referenced in TFA, I assure you that I am sufficiently "on-topic" enough to make such moderation unwarranted. Now, are you finished posting AC to protect your censorship-- er, I mean moderation?

Re:Yes, because we all know that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254903)

Same AC. Nobody claimed that it was only Apple that is evil (you assumed that somebody claimed it, and began responding to it). So yeah, if I had to mod you I would mod you off-topic. I dont have mod points or an account though.

Wait... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254483)

The students are being Shanghaied [wikipedia.org] ?

What were the odds?

Re:Wait... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 2 years ago | (#41254945)

I don't know, but if they are, they might run into The Live Ghost. [wikipedia.org] Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Wait for the other shoe to drop ... (5, Interesting)

stevez67 (2374822) | about 2 years ago | (#41254525)

No independent confirmation; "someone posting under the name of Dalingzhuimengnan said" and "radio reports" and statements from Universities about internships ... all the links lead back to one Shanghai Daily article. This "journalism" needs fact checking and verification. It may be true or it may not. Time will tell. You may now resume backing Apple as if the other phones made in China wouldn't use similar tactics if they could get away with it.

China doesn't have an independent press... (5, Interesting)

jeko (179919) | about 2 years ago | (#41255057)

China doesn't have an adversarial and independent press (though God knows it could be argued the US doesn't have one anymore either). When things like this happen, the best you're going to get are strangled, scattered reports in fitful sporadic bursts, as happened in our own (US) revolution.

Responsible journalism would involve a reporter going out to investigate the reports and interview the people on the scene. The government won't allow it. So now you're in a similar situation where the police get a call about a wife beater. They go to the accused man's house and find there's blood on his sleeveless t-shirt, they can hear sobbing inside, but he won't let them in the door. Suddenly you have to take those few scattered reports a lot more seriously.

Various students are reporting they've been pressed into service by a dictatorial government. The dictatorial government in question isn't allowing anyone to investigate their claims. The government's behavior in and of itself tends to corroborate the students' reports, especially given the previous history of the factory in question.

iPhone 5 is almost a year old (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254527)

Please stop referring to the next iPhone as "iPhone 5". There is absolutely no reason to believe it will be called this. It's the 6th generation phone, the 4th generation was called the 4, and the latest iPad is only referred to as "The New iPad".

Re:iPhone 5 is almost a year old (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#41254817)

the 4th generation was called the 4

And the fifth generation was called 4s... um... hmmm... Looks like there is no precedent for any scheme at the moment.

All this hand wringing over the understood (by sane people) *placeholder* name of iPhone 5 is just geek OCD piffle.

Or... you could look at the iPhone 4 as Apple shifting the digit to a version number. The 4s was an update to the 4. So the next phone could very well be called the 5. Or not. They can do whatever the hell they want. There's no rules or laws for product names. Witness Windows changing from version to year to letters to names and now back to version.

I always thought Apple should use their OS X naming philosophy with their hardware. The phones could be birds of prey (agile and mobile). The pads could be dog breeds (faithful companions). The laptops could be, oh, I dunno... shark types or something.

So, what...? (5, Interesting)

Sez Zero (586611) | about 2 years ago | (#41254559)

Does that mean there's a labor shortage in China? If so, then things are about to get interesting.

Not mine! (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 2 years ago | (#41254563)

They're not building my next iPhone!

...a worker's paradise... (3, Insightful)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41254643)

Seriously here, when will the world wise up to the fact that "cheap cinese labor" has costs that don't tabulate out cleanly on expense sheets and quarterly reports?

Is getting your technology for fractions of a cent per transistor worth.... this?

Do the affluent of today not know that this kind of despotism breeds civil unrest, government oppression, and the degredation of what it means to be a human being?

Do they even care?

A worker's paradise indeed. Does anyone know of any electronics makers who don't abuse another country's willingness to throw its own people under the bus for money?

Re:...a worker's paradise... (1)

jdastrup (1075795) | about 2 years ago | (#41254687)

1. Never
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. No
5. Not any profitable ones.

Re:...a worker's paradise... (2)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#41254821)

about the time the Chinese labor wises up... but as long as they are ok to be exploited.. who am i to argue.
now don't bother me as i go to vote for one of two parties (not candidates)

Re:...a worker's paradise... (-1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#41254853)

Seriously here, when will the world wise up to the fact that "cheap cinese labor" has costs that don't tabulate out cleanly on expense sheets and quarterly reports?

Developed world labor has its own massive hidden costs, and it starts several times more expensive. How come I never hear "How can we make our labor more competitive with the Chinese?" Instead, it's "How can we fuck over our employers for more money and benefits while simultaneously forcing them to keep employing us?"

Re:...a worker's paradise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254877)

Are you so sure of your perspective?

Have you talked to these workers?

One fact that stuck with me from the previous reporting fiasco on Foxconn was that the suicide rate amongst the workers was *lower* then the general population.

Is that significant?

Maybe with this burgeoning industry these people would have nothing?

Maybe they have a different perspective from pampered Western geeks with little to no global experience who think they are going to save the world through holier than thou Slashdot posts, and not even asking the world if it wants them to save it?

Re:...a worker's paradise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254889)

This thing about students is kind of over the top, although not the worst thing about Foxconn.

However, having actually been to and worked in China (I am an American), having several close friends who are native Chinese and native Taiwanese, I can also say that Foxconn also provides an extraordinarily valuable service. People in the US complain about the job market here and the wealth gap but in China those issues are substantially worse. Most of Foxconn's workers come from rural parts of China where they're mostly living on about $1-$1.50/day. The wages that Foxconn pays while cheap by US standards are so significantly better than what many of the poor in China can hope to get in their hometowns that they leave in mass droves to go work at factories like these, and send significant amounts of their paycheck home to support thier parents and relatives. The US workforce is ~100M, about 1/3rd of our population, and our unemployment rate is about 8.2% I think the las time it was checked. So about 8.2M workers who are looking for work. Assume those same rates of China's 1.3 billion population and you're talking over 35M people looking for work. And it's likely a lot worse. AS much as it sucks, jobs like these have raised the standard of living for a lot of Chinese poor.

Also, I see these Chinese college students as whining and complaining when it is good practice for them. The wealth gap between the middle and wealthy classes vs. the poor is so substantial that they don't have any perspective on what their country is really dealing with; hoipefully this gives them a real education.

Re:...a worker's paradise... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254901)

and the degredation of what it means to be a human being?

A somewhat intelligent animal ultimately driven by instinct living in the world like everything else?

Someone has to assemble them... (5, Insightful)

turp182 (1020263) | about 2 years ago | (#41254653)

Different countries have different labor situations. Protest with your wallet, or lack thereof.

Re:Someone has to assemble them... (1)

Misagon (1135) | about 2 years ago | (#41254781)

I have never bought a cell phone in my life. Do you really think my inaction will make a difference?

(all my cell phones have been gifts or company phones)

Re:Someone has to assemble them... (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 2 years ago | (#41255001)

Your inaction will not change the situation. It's not about inaction, it is about action, specifically a decision. People can usually choose the phone they purchase. I understand company phones, you can't do much about what they give you (I'm sure you have had a Blackberry at some point...); but you could probably influence gifting (my family and friends would certainly screen such a choice with me prior to giving it to me). For the record I have an iPhone 4 that I paid for. And I like it and will only upgrade when it eventually breaks.

Apple is a cunt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254657)

Anyone who buys Apple products is a cunt.

Don't be a cunt.

Re:Apple is a cunt (0)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 years ago | (#41254861)

"Anyone who buys Apple products is a cunt. Don't be a cunt."

You're just jealous that you're not getting any. Pipe down and save up your pennies.

Work Experience is Good (-1, Troll)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 years ago | (#41254673)

Work experience is very valuable. Liberals are too quickly to condemn work. A pity.

Re:Work Experience is Good (2)

margeman2k3 (1933034) | about 2 years ago | (#41254849)

So is an education. Unfortunately, classes are being cancelled so students can be illegally forced to work in an assembly plant.
But then again, if work experience is so valuable, maybe we should shut down Harvard and MIT for a week each semester so the students can get some highly valuable work experience at a world class establishment like McDonalds or Walmart. What do you think?

Read the article... (5, Interesting)

jeko (179919) | about 2 years ago | (#41254913)

Students were pulled from their classes, forced to work 12-hour shifts, and punished if they protested or tried to leave. None of this was voluntary, and all of it highly illegal even by Chinese law. The students were paid a very nominal amount, but were billed for room and board which clawed that money right back to the factory, meaning this is a "Sixteen Tons" situation where the students didn't actually get paid.

As for the "work experience," it consisted of snapping parts together and filling boxes. The students were studying Law and English. The factory work had no educational value of any kind, not are any of the students getting the references or connections customarily associated with internships.

Are you getting this yet? The students were grabbed from school, shipped to the factory and made to work 12-hour shifts. No one had agreed to any of this. Anyone who talked back or tried to leave was punished.

The nicest label you can slap on this is "impressment," which is just a fancy way of saying slavery. So let me get this straight. A national healthcare plan is "enslaving doctors," but grabbing kids out of class and forcing them to work 12-hour shifts without pay is "valuable work experience?"

Probably part of the contract (1, Interesting)

TheEffigy (2666397) | about 2 years ago | (#41254691)

So they agreed to an internship and had to work as a result? Welcome to reality.

Good (2)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | about 2 years ago | (#41254735)

The slaves of Terra are being summoned again to fulfill the species needs.

Most Anticipated? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254759)

Don't know about anyone else, but there is absolutely nothing that I expect nor anticipate from the next iPhone.

Apple Fall Harvest Always Came Before School (2)

theodp (442580) | about 2 years ago | (#41254771)

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] : "At the time it was evident that Edina was still a farming town, since school vacations coincided with spring planting and fall harvesting so the children could help in the fields."

Could block imports of iPhones into the US (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41254837)

19 USC 1307 [cornell.edu] :

All goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor or/and forced labor or/and indentured labor under penal sanctions shall not be entitled to entry at any of the ports of the United States, and the importation thereof is hereby prohibited, and the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and directed to prescribe such regulations as may be necessary for the enforcement of this provision. ...

'Forced labor', as herein used, shall mean all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty for its nonperformance and for which the worker does not offer himself voluntarily. For purposes of this section, the term "forced labor or/and indentured labor" includes forced or indentured child labor.

Anyone now has the right to file a complaint that could result in all iPhone 5 units incoming to the US be impounded at U.S. customs. This includes competitors.

in the usa we have the same thing it's much better (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41254839)

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-26/news/ct-met-new-harper-college-jobs-program-20120627_1_manufacturing-summit-harper-college-production-workers [chicagotribune.com]

That is a community college offering a trades based learning plan with real PAID work as part of class plan.

this Chinese thing seems like we don't care what your field is go work in this factory doing a line job with no learning plan tied to the work.

Who Cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254859)

Does someone really care no for many reason too long to list and I really don't care to list them, now hurry up
I want my Iphone 5

Coming soon to a factory near you. (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#41254863)

Unpaid internships are the new black (market labor).

One political party wants to repeal minimum wage laws, child labor laws, and the entire category "labor laws".

Take a good look at what happens when you have a government that wants to "unleash business". And polish that resume, or you might not get that unpaid internship (I wonder if they give them free pizza).

Who's calling the shots in China? Hu Jintao or Apple?

In related news, Mitt Romney sees cold fusion [boingboing.net] as the future of "basic science", so clearly things are looking up here in the 'States.

Good night, God bless you, and God bless America.

Sounds like a good idea (1)

SilverJets (131916) | about 2 years ago | (#41254867)

Too bad governments over here don't force students in useless arts, latin, and philosophy degrees to do the same.

Re:Sounds like a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255017)

You deserve to be shot.

Fascist.

That is all.

Motivation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41254971)

I'm guessing it'll inspire the kids to work a lot harder at school after working in a sweat shop for a few months.

appl-ettes love (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about 2 years ago | (#41254975)

Apple fagbois ... er fanboyz ... er APPl-ettes just **love** the disciplines chi.com behavior. hehehe ... learn it in the bath-house --- expand to the byte-mouse.

Where's the iScoop then? (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 2 years ago | (#41254995)

If there's any truth to the news, then surely one of those "disgruntled" students could be given an incentive to spill the beans on the specs or the look of the new iPhone? Even an actual photo would be possible. I'm sure there are tech "news" orgs out there willing to shell a few grand for even a low-res photo taken via a spy cam that can easily be tucked into the workers' underwear or body cavity. This can be foiled of course if Foxconn security does a strip/cavity search of each worker entering the factory or use some sort of Orwellian system that monitors suspcious/nervous behavior or even a walk-thru lie-detector test.

They were denied safety, food, shelter, liberty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255041)

If no, then it wasn't force. It was personal choice. Never thought I'd say this about China, but:

First World Problems

Unbelievable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255095)

I read about crap like this and it honestly makes me feel bad that I own and use Apple products.

Why?

Not because of how Foxconn runs their factories- personally, I could give a shit less about that. What irks me is that Apple is willingly using these guys to build their products (and Apple quality has fallen dramatically since the early 2000s), specifically so that they can turn around and charge people obscene prices for the whole hardware & software "experience".

I would almost say something like "I'd happily pay more for an iPod Touch if I knew it was being built by a reputable company". But then I realize that they could do that without changing the price- Apple would just make a wee bit less money then they already are. Jobs was so adamant that it wasn't about the money, and yet every goddam thing Apple does or is doing today is about exactly that.

So I guess I can't blame Foxconn for this. It's all the greedy shit-hole US companies having their crap produced by Foxconn in the name of profits that are to blame, because they're the ones perpetuating behaviour like this by looking in the other direction.

Coercion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41255097)

So what happens if the students refuse to do the internship?

1. They are not given diplomas. I suspect that any school requiring this sort of labor is not really a school worth attending. If hypothetically such a school really does offer a good path toward relative success, students simple need to weigh the true benefit vs. cost (higher w/ manual labor) when deciding which if any school to attend. This is not true coercion. This is simply the lack of good options. Unfortunately being a person in China does not imply good options as a birthright.

2. They are fined or jailed. This really is coercion. This doesn't seem like whats going on, but I think it is important to keep this possibility in mind to differentiate "forced" from *forced*.

In the worst case, I can see what these schools are doing as breech of contract if the students are mislead in regards to what is actually required to acquire a diploma (i.e. not mentioning the "forced" labor). I, however, suspect that this kind of thing is probably well known even if not explicitly stated by the universities. It's kind of hard to keep things of this sort a secret.

The most obvious motivation for universities to require students perform manual labor for a degree is kick backs from the factory owners for the cheap labor. It should theoretically be possible for students to pay this difference in the form of increased tuition or bribes, if all the universities want is more money.

It is a shame that the prestige given to education by the Chinese people is being exploited for profit. When something is in irrationally high demand, whether it's beanie babies or college educations, it means quality can go down and prices can go up. I think it is time for everyone (whether in China, America, etc) to re-evaluate whether a college education is really worth it.

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