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Foxconn Accused of Forcing InternsTo Build PS4s Or Lose School Credit

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the give-'em-some-credit dept.

China 196

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a short article at Geek.com, based on this Chinese newspaper report (Google translation) that thousands of students have been (figuratively) press-ganged into assembling PlayStation 4 consoles, ahead of the PS4's November launch. From the article: "The students involved were offered internships at the company while studying an IT engineering course. But those that accepted aren't being assigned work that matches their course or skill set. Instead, they are being put on the production lines. The reason it is being called a forced internship is because if any of the students refuse to do the work they are assigned, six credits will be deducted from their course total. Without those six credits it's thought to be impossible to pass, meaning the students have to do the work or risk losing their qualification."

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196 comments

better than building Xbones. (0, Flamebait)

harddriveerror (1623145) | about 10 months ago | (#45090165)

Just Saying

Apple must be responsible for this somehow! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090529)

But how can this be tied back to Apple? Isn't everything bad that Foxconn does Apple's fault? I'm sure Apple is responsible for this somehow if we dig hard enough!

Re:Apple must be responsible for this somehow! (1)

JDeane (1402533) | about 10 months ago | (#45090795)

PS4 It only does slavery!

I jest but wow that's a pretty dick move, work the assembly line or else...

Re:Apple must be responsible for this somehow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090969)

PS4 It only does slavery!

I jest but wow that's a pretty dick move, work the assembly line or else...

Meanwhile in America, thousands of students sit back with an $80,000 piece of paper hanging on the wall, riddled for years with massive student loan debt...

...all because they were told go to college, or else.

First-World Slavery still kinda feels like slavery.

put it in perspective (2)

Moblaster (521614) | about 10 months ago | (#45091513)

Hold on for a second here, people. Let's remember for just one second... These students... they chose (ok - an assumption on my part - they presumably chose) to intern at Foxconn. FOXCONN. Putting physical devices together is what they DO. That's their entire POINT in the universe. What are these kids thinking, that they'd be working on advanced logistics and supply chain management right out of the gate? There are two kinds of jobs in a contract manufacturer. Ones you can train for over a week, and ones you can train for over a year (or more). Not a whole heck of a lot in between. On some level you gotta ask -- what did these kids expect? If you don't want to learn (by doing) some assembly, then you're really looking for an internship somewhere else.

Re:put it in perspective (2)

gmack (197796) | about 10 months ago | (#45091659)

What makes you think they had a choice where they ended up? They needed to pass an internship to graduate and I wonder how many potential opportunities wouldn't exploit them this way.

Re:Apple must be responsible for this somehow! (-1, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | about 10 months ago | (#45091415)

Apple invented the DRM for the PS4? They use the dead puppy brains from apple for use in the PS4?

Does it matter? Low IQ rabid android fanbois will do anything to blame apple.

Re:better than building Xbones. (1)

wynterwynd (265580) | about 10 months ago | (#45091149)

Actually, they are building Xbones [geek.com] . Foxconn is making both consoles and I have little doubt that students are building both, yet it's the PS4 that gets pushed to the forefront.

How about an article titled "Foxconn Accused of Forcing Interns to Do Assembly Line Work or Lose School Credit"? I guess that wouldn't have as much sizzle, now would it? And then we couldn't show our displeasure with our wallets, to the benefit of Sony's competitors.

Everything old is new again. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090167)

Slavery? Nah. Wage slavery! It's new, you'll like it. Or else.

Re:Everything old is new again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090225)

Not Wage Slavery, but Grade Slavery.

Re:Everything old is new again. (4, Funny)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 10 months ago | (#45091587)

And not press-ganged, but Shanghaied.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 10 months ago | (#45090233)

You know, as much as it sucks and is a screw over, the students still likely have much better prospects than the non-student workers at foxconn. And I'm not necessarily saying it's good for the students.

Re:Everything old is new again. (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#45090395)

I'm pretty sure that assembly line work isn't going to improve their prospects much. Foxconn may have fed them a line that this is a "show of dedication" that's going to improve their chances of getting hired for management or executive positions, or some such horseshit. But at the end of the day, they've only shown themselves to be desperate slaves. And that's not going to earn them any respect, from Foxconn or anyone else.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 10 months ago | (#45090353)

In all fairness to Foxconn, these interns did voluntarily enroll in the School of Hard Knocks.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 months ago | (#45090387)

bribing of the school officials bribery.

it's their fault. they shouldn't be providing credits for assembly work in the first place!

*unless of course the school is actually an assembler school, ;) just not the kind of assembler course they thought it would be..

Re:Everything old is new again. (5, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#45090445)

Slavery? Nah. Wage slavery! It's new, you'll like it. Or else.

Except that it is not new. Since the 1950s, students in China have been required to work in factories, farms, or military service. It is not supposed to be an "internship" related to their work, but rather normal work to give them an appreciation of the proletariat/peasant/soldier. They are treated the same, and paid the same, as the other workers. Building PS4s is probably an easier assignment than 99% of the students get, so they should stop whining, and get the job done. If they don't like it, I am sure some students assigned to mosquito infested rice paddies would be happy to swap with them.

These students are going to be the future leaders, in both business and politics. It is reasonable to require them to have an appreciation for the people they will be leading.

My wife is Chinese, and during college she spent six months working in a car factory in Tianjin, installing door handles. She remembers it as a mostly positive experience.

Re:Everything old is new again. (4, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#45090473)

Honestly not a bad system even if all they learn is why they should continue their education. My family did not require my economic contribution when I was a child but from the age of 15 I held various jobs for spending money, car insurance and most importantly to my parents so I could see what sort of someone without much education would be likely to get. Once you have spent a summer of 8-12 hour days washing dishes you know you would like to do more with your life.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 10 months ago | (#45090569)

Yes, but it's an experience which should bar Chinese products from being imported under the laws which forbid imports produced by slave or other forced labor.

Re:Everything old is new again. (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#45090745)

Yes, but it's an experience which should bar Chinese products from being imported under the laws which forbid imports produced by slave or other forced labor.

Withholding college credit hardly counts as "forced labor". In America, if you don't work, they withhold your paycheck. That is even more coercive.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#45090783)

Not at all.
A paycheck is what you get for work, not a grade.

If they want to pay these kids as well as give them a grade that would be fine.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 10 months ago | (#45091273)

Actually if you read the law in question [cornell.edu] then you'll see that forced labor is defined so it's under "menace of penalty". I suppose a lawyer could argue the credits are a reward for the course and not a penalty and thus legal, but that would be defying the spirit of the law.

I'd like to see U.S. customs seize the items the moment they hit our borders, but I doubt they will.

Freedom for all, except if you're a large corporation, it seems.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 10 months ago | (#45091371)

A bit of a correction:

I seem to have misunderstood the article. If they are penalizing credits for quitting, then it does count as forced labor. Keep in mind "offer himself voluntarily" doesn't apply if you offer yourself for an electrical engineering position but they make you clean toilets. Which is synonymous to what they're doing here.

Re:Everything old is new again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45091159)

So you are fine with the products of companies that benefited from unpaid intern work in North America being banned for import into other countries?

Re:Everything old is new again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45091669)

I would be fine with this. Unpaid intern work is bullshit. Back in my day (ha) we had Cooperative Education. No course credit, instead you actually got paid for your work. And I actually learned something during my assignments: I wasn't just making coffee or sorting files.

Not so old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090929)

Back in the 80's I had to do a lot of mandatory, unpaid, farm work, and all the product of that work was being exported for the profit of one guy who happened to be president of the country. The students they are talking about at least got scholarships, but we got absolutely nothing. It was illegal at the time for students to be paid, so the work was labelled as "voluntary". We did get something though: punishment in case we did not show enough enthusiasm for this form of slavery.

And there are no skills to learn from manually harvesting potatoes.

Re:Everything old is new again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45091237)

These students are going to be the future leaders, in both business and politics. It is reasonable to require them to have an appreciation for the people they will be leading.

And when those students become the future leaders in business/politics; when asked why they're employ forced student labor in their factories/militaries, they will simply say that was how they were raised and whiners should suck it up.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 10 months ago | (#45091611)

These students are going to be the future leaders, in both business and politics. It is reasonable to require them to have an appreciation for the people they will be leading.

Well said. Everyone who manages labour workers should have done that work at one time, from the CEO on down. But since that's never going to happen I suggest that the CEO's office be placed in the middle of the factory floor. No walls either, just right out in the open.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090499)

This does not strike me as much worse than what other countries do with required internships as part of educations - which companies use to get a cheap/free naive youngster to make them coffee or whatever else they can't be arse to do themself.

Re:Everything old is new again. (0)

operagost (62405) | about 10 months ago | (#45091079)

Don't like it? There's the window! [wikipedia.org]

Time to Re-evaluate (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 10 months ago | (#45090191)

Any executive worth his/her weight in warm spit would look at the problems Foxconn is constantly having and give a hard second look at producing equipment in the states. Tesla has revolutionized car manufacturing, so could the electronics industry.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090231)

This stuff causes a lot of waste. We don't want it here.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 10 months ago | (#45090289)

Speak for yourself. Assembly is fairly clean, and the chips are going to be made anyway. And then, there's the savings in marine diesel from not having to ship it back from overseas. Lastly, I think we'd rather have the jobs over here. . .

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45090497)

Lastly, I think we'd rather have the jobs over here. . .

And Sony (a Japanese firm) would give a damn about that why?

Obviously, they've done the math, and even with all of the shipping costs, it's cheaper to have someone in China who gets paid very little than it would be to have people in places where wages are higher do the work.

And I'm sure they'll just say "hey, we're complying with local labor laws, we're the good guys".

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45090293)

Any executive worth his/her weight in warm spit would look at the problems Foxconn is constantly having and give a hard second look at producing equipment in the states.

Sadly, most executives are going to say "are we still profitable? Awesome" and not give a damn.

Making the equipment in the US will likely cost more, cut down on profits, and therefore reduce executive bonuses.

The current mentality says "cheap as possible and cut as many jobs as you can". I don't see that changing any time soon.

Most executives are worth their weight in warm spit, and that's the problem.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#45090415)

Most executives would be happy to say 'we'll accept a slightly lower margin if we can make up for it in sales volume because more people will buy our product if we can guarantee a certain standard of living for people on our production lines'. At least, they would be happy to say it if it were true. Unless people are willing to boycott Sony and not buy a PS4 over this kind of thing, they have no incentive to stop.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#45090531)

Someone would have to offer a competing product that did that first. If box MS and Sony decline to do so the buyer cannot vote with his dollars for that option. Declining to buy only sends the message that the good is not attractive to that buyer not why.

A new competitor could take that risk, I think someone building SteamBoxes might. They have a lot less to risk and can be more willing to take chances. Since there will be many builders it also presents less risk to the platform.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about 10 months ago | (#45090849)

Exactly. And the reason no one does this?

Simple. It's because the moment someone slaps a sustainable or sweatless sticker on their E-product, people are going to start looking at where the caps, commodity chips and resistors come from. Are the components 100% made without slave labour? Can their million part suppliers guarantee this all the time. It becomes a very risky business proposition and a PR disaster waiting to befell any competing product thats dares to promise that which cannot be ever guaranteed.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#45090925)

Which is why you say assembled in $X. You do the best you can.

The folks who nitpick like that tend to be folks who will never buy anyway though. Like people who claim hybrids save no money, but drive SUVs. The SUV saves no money and in fact wastes it but they just want to be assholes anyway.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about 10 months ago | (#45091163)

I think you are missing my point where the standard is a moving target. I don't disagree with what you've said, (I drive a small fuel efficient SUV, but I'm a goalie and need to lug a giant hockey bag that never quite fit in my Corrolla), but I also understand why companies do not commit to hitting the target of utopian, sustainable manufacture. Until replication technology is available, no one will be happy with their commitments when it comes to input (slave, union, living wage labour) and output (price, availability).

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#45091581)

I want to see this goalie stuff that does not fit in a hatchback. I have a small hatchback car and as the seats fold down I can haul a ton of stuff. Not saying you should not own an SUV, just that it would be mighty disingenuous of you to find fault with the fuel economy of my car.

I think companies go for realistic goals and can meet them. See some restaurants not using factory farmed animals, or only organic produce.

I would love to buy a PS4 made without this sorts of shenanigans.

Boycott Who? (4, Insightful)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 10 months ago | (#45090585)

Unless people are willing to boycott Sony and not buy a PS4 over this kind of thing, they have no incentive to stop.

Why boycott Sony? When you can boycott Foxconn products like the iPhone and Xbox. Sony have their own manufacturing plants. Where do you think the UK made rasberry Pi is made? Sony's Pencoed factory. I suspect that Foxconn will not be making the PS4 long term, but have used Foxconn to deal with its initial demand, their are very few companies who could have taken on this contract.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about 10 months ago | (#45090831)

"if we can guarantee a certain standard of living for people on our production lines"

You actually think Humans care about that?. It's a slim minority, most likely countable on your fingers. And boycott? yeah THAT'S worked well in the past. We still see things like the Foxconn incident precisely because of lack of care and no willingness, except for a handful of people, to do anything about it as long as they can get their product. I've learned to accept that, because it's not going to change and I can't change it.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 10 months ago | (#45090975)

Most executives would be happy to say 'we'll accept a slightly lower margin if we can make up for it in sales volume because more people will buy our product if we can guarantee a certain standard of living for people on our production lines'.

Nah, most executives prefer to trick people into believing that while still manufacturing in China.

Proof? Labels that say stuff like "Designed in California"...

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090481)

Executives? What about the masses running to WalMart every payday to buy as much crap to stuff in their homes as they can get even if they never use it?
 
Always pointing fingers at the corporations when the reality is that if the consumer gave a crap about Chinese slavery we wouldn't be reading stories like this. So don't act like it's the CEOs who are devils and Joe Sixpack is a fantastic human being ala Sister Theresa.
 
It's just like the "green" economy. I worked in retail for a lot of years in my youth and the number of green product I seen that came and went was staggering. Why? Because adding another 5% to the price of a product dooms it in the eyes of the consumer even if it's for a cause the same consumer claims to support.
 
If you don't support your ideals with your dollars than you don't really support it at all. Instead the so-called progressives would just rather sit back and wait for the government to do something. It'll be a cold day in hell that'll ever happen now that the partnership between corporations and the government is forged in steel and is as evident as the clear summer sun.
 
Most consumers are just as guilty as most executives. Put that in your pipe and smoke it tonight.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#45090749)

The folks who are buying at walmart likely can't afford the extra 5%. Same thing with those green products. The 100k and up households, many of those populated by these executive devils are the ones buying a lot of that green stuff and keeping any of those companies in business.

Education is also a problem. I have some not well off in laws, they were spending a fortune on batteries for kids toys. They had no idea there was another option. We bought them some eneloops and a fancy charger. Sure this means they have to have some extra batteries on hand, since charging takes some time, but the savings are there. The cheapest AAs I saw on amazon were $0.24 a battery. The eneloops might be 10 times as much but they will last for 1500 charges and the kids will go through 10 charges in a very short time.

On the other hand the layout for the smart charger and the batteries would have been a major purchase for them. I am not sure they really had that option, unless they stopped buying the Alkaline batteries to save up those funds. Also they tend to shop at stores were only very bad rechargeables are commonly available.

Here is my pinko communist idea about this; the battery sellers should be forced to list the mAh on the box when selling them. Not sure if that is too much government regulation for you, but markets work better when all participants have the information they need to make proper decisions.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45091577)

The folks who are buying at walmart likely can't afford the extra 5%.
 
Maybe you haven't been to a WalMart recently but about 90% of their goods fall under the non-essential category. If these people can't afford 5% for essentials then maybe they don't need a 46 inch LCD TV, a BluRay player and 50 discs to go with it. You're clearly thinking of the thrift store... where people go to pay 5 dollars for a 40 dollar pair of pants because someone thought they were worthless because a drop of bleach got dripped on the cuff of the legging. There's a gulf of difference in the lifestyles of the two consumers.
 
  Same thing with those green products.
 
If you can afford beef as a main course 5 nights a week for your meal, you can afford 5% to make a difference. Stop crying poverty where there is no poverty. the excuse gets old. People spending themselves into debt by buying smartphones, tablets and huge TVs with bigger cable bills is not poverty. It's stupidity.
 
  Education is also a problem. I have some not well off in laws, they were spending a fortune on batteries for kids toys. They had no idea there was another option. We bought them some eneloops and a fancy charger. Sure this means they have to have some extra batteries on hand, since charging takes some time, but the savings are there. The cheapest AAs I saw on amazon were $0.24 a battery. The eneloops might be 10 times as much but they will last for 1500 charges and the kids will go through 10 charges in a very short time.
 
Ignorance is not a valid excuse either. And if they're "not well off" then why exactly are they buying toys that batteries used in? I'm sorry, I know it's 2013 but the toys and gadgets are still non-essential. If these people would knuckle down and not let themselves be nickled and dimed into poverty they might actually have enough money to make life better for themselves all around. When I was in my teens there was a choice between an Nintendo 8-bit and a Commodore 64. I decided on the Commodore. If my parents told me that I couldn't have either I would have dealt with it as there was plenty of other stuff I did without because my parents had priorities. I didn't suffer for it. In fact, I was better off for it.
 
  Here is my pinko communist idea about this; the battery sellers should be forced to list the mAh on the box when selling them. Not sure if that is too much government regulation for you, but markets work better when all participants have the information they need to make proper decisions.
 
You start by claiming it's an education problem then you turn around and claim it's a regulation problem and try to soak it in with a bit of self-pity while trying to make fun of me at the same time? Really? Is that all you got going on? No wonder you think it's a government problem. You obviously are so passive-aggressive that the concept of standing up and having the man on the street actually work to make his life better without the need for a nanny state is too much for you to handle.
 
You're probably one of those same kinds of people running around MSNBC who tried to proclaim that kids had to eat junk food and parents had to buy it for them because those nasty ad executives are too clever for the adults to resist their ploys.* If education is a problem what do you think making more information available to the consumer is going solve? The end consumer who pays through the nose for a product that isn't of the same quality of another product because they're lazy gets what they deserve.
 
*And, sadly, yes. I really had a couple of people there tell me that they had no choice in the matter of what kind of food they bought for their children because the ads on TV were so persuasive. Sad that the same society that produced "The Greatest Generation" a mere 80 years ago has fallen into this way of thinking. I don't blame the elderly for hating the youth, seeings as what we've become in their lifetime.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45091675)

battery sellers should be forced to list the mAh on the box

so then they would resort to making batteries with very high mAh on them, and which would only be good for a couple dozen charges before the battery doesn't hold a charge. Then you would say we need to then add how many charges til while maintaining 80% original capacity etc. and on and on. The best way is education, but that takes generations and the market is misleading all the time.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090807)

sister theresa was no saint, btw.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 10 months ago | (#45090507)

Cost increases are insignificant and may actually be a savings if you can call them part of your marketing budget. Now if you think 100 Chinese workers will turn into 100 American workers you are deluded. More like 10 Americans and the rest of the jobs will be replaced with automation. This will also cut QA jobs since machines don't do worse on Friday at 16:30 as they are not eager to leave nor a Monday at 8:00 from a hangover.

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#45090359)

that would be kind of awesome

instead of me paying to send my kids to camp, i'll get paid to send them to build some electronics for 18 hours a day

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090371)

'cause a very expensive luxury car and mass market consumer electronics have similar margins and assembly requirements. Where'd you get your armchair economist degree?

Re:Time to Re-evaluate (1)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#45090439)

Any executive worth his/her weight in warm spit would look at the problems Foxconn is constantly having and give a hard second look at producing equipment in the states.

These "problems" aren't so for Foxconn. An ammoral government-backed business turns cheap labor and resources into high value products. It's not teaching the lesson you think it is.

Tesla has revolutionized car manufacturing, so could the electronics industry.

Tesla's tricks work just as well in China and a lot of the costs would be cheaper. The difference is that Elon Musk lives in the US not in China.

Ah I love the smell of RAW Capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090195)

In the morning, is is the exploitation of the means and resources of production after all.

Re:Ah I love the smell of RAW Capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090333)

In the SOCIALIST economic system used in China... No "capitalism" involved there. But this is /. and facts of an issue never matter when somebody can instead make a political lie.

Re:Ah I love the smell of RAW Capitalism (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 10 months ago | (#45090487)

China is socialist and not capitalist? Have you been asleep for the last few decades? Or do you also believe that the Democratic Republic of North Korea is actually democratic, and that the United States of America is actually united?

On the bright side... (1)

Dreth (1885712) | about 10 months ago | (#45090197)

As opposed to paying them $5.00 a day, they're getting a better deal.

Modern bueraucratically organized slavery (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 10 months ago | (#45090201)

Despicable. But not a surprise.

rage (1)

Korruptionen (2647747) | about 10 months ago | (#45090219)

Well when it breaks, I'll know who to blame!

Use the Force, Luke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090245)

"Sometimes, nothin' is a cool hand."

Re:Use the Force, Luke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090429)

"Sometimes, nothin' is a cool hand."

That'll never get seen, AC. What we have here is failure to communacait.

Re:Use the Force, Luke (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 10 months ago | (#45091623)

"Sometimes, nothin' is a cool hand."

That'll never get seen, AC. What we have here is failure to communacait.

Well... if that's the way he wants it...

Sorry, but we NEED our new techno gadgets in time! (4, Insightful)

Craefter (71540) | about 10 months ago | (#45090247)

Why does China get the job done?
- They understand their priorities when the world wants the latest gadgets
- Cheap labor
- Small kiddy fingers == smaller gadgets
- Lost of cheap labor
- Factories run at 24/7 which means a more efficient use of factory resources
- No workers's union which could jeopardize deadlines.

Currently China is a booming economy (partially because they have lots of cheap labor). Maybe The West has become too elitist in A) Gadget demands and B) Worker rights. Our demand is there, China is just for filling our wishes.

Re:Sorry, but we NEED our new techno gadgets in ti (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 10 months ago | (#45090305)

The rush to the lowest common denominator. How about we cull from the top, eliminate those who want to push us into the rush to the lowest common denominator and see what happens then. Don't forget they get paid the most and do by far the least, so massive savings to be had. No Golden parachutes, no private jets and, no insane bonus schemes. At least in China they are teaching future management what it means to work the production, sounds like that lesson should be spread around some more.

Re:Sorry, but we NEED our new techno gadgets in ti (1)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#45090469)

The rush to the lowest common denominator. How about we cull from the top, eliminate those who want to push us into the rush to the lowest common denominator and see what happens then.

You haven't changed the lowest common denominator by doing that. Instead, merely by sending substantial business to the LCD we have increased the LCD. At some point, the developed world might become part of the LCD for various reasons. In that case, you'll be relatively happy that someone else is throwing you some business.

Re:Sorry, but we NEED our new techno gadgets in ti (2)

SlippyToad (240532) | about 10 months ago | (#45090337)

It's kind of a relief to know that pretty soon China's economic model will evaporate once 3d printing becomes consumerized.

At least, the part where cheap labor is mercilessly exploited in an inhuman fashion by lazy, worthless douchebags.

Re:Sorry, but we NEED our new techno gadgets in ti (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 10 months ago | (#45090355)

Except we never had a chance to choose.

Because if we had any real and informed choice between product A whose money stays in the local economy and product B foxconn style, we'd have chosen A even if we had to fork more money.
Because it's better to fork more money and have an income and some rights, like western economies did before the 90s, than race to the bottom and have the whole economy race with you. "Sorry, for us to be competitive you have to work more hours". "Sorry, for us to be competitive you have to work for less". "Sorry, for us to be competitive you have to get lost".

Instead, in practice, we have to choose between brand A and B, both supported by the same financial system that in the 1990s decided to bring down western economy by lowering consumption using job flexibility as an excuse to take a sense of security away. No matter what economic indicators say, no sense of security means less consumption.

Re:Sorry, but we NEED our new techno gadgets in ti (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 10 months ago | (#45090767)

Because if we had any real and informed choice between product A whose money stays in the local economy and product B foxconn style, we'd have chosen A even if we had to fork more money.

Except Wal Mart has more or less proved that to be untrue.

See, since everyone's job has been eliminated or off-shored, most people don't have the luxury of buying ethical. They just need to buy cheap to stretch what little money they have.

I fear this race to the bottom is far from over.

Re:Sorry, but we NEED our new techno gadgets in ti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090505)

Elitist in Worker rights? If you are advocating moving the cheap labor (with all the adverse parts) to "The West", you should stick with China while you can.

Reality is China won't be forever the cheap labour house, and they too will get the Worker rights they sorely miss.

Sooner we get this, sooner the labour comes back to where the consumers are. After all what would be the purpose to use labour from China and produce something to "The West" -- when we all have same rights?

Re:Sorry, but we NEED our new techno gadgets in ti (1)

Craefter (71540) | about 10 months ago | (#45090691)

Cheap labor will just shift to another poor country, there is still enough of them to choose from. Next up: Made in Africa.

Re:Sorry, but we NEED our new techno gadgets in ti (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 10 months ago | (#45090525)

- Small kiddy fingers == smaller gadgets

When my uncle was 5 years old, his father came to school and took him home so that he could help a young sow giving birth. Small hands. Nothing new.

Re:Sorry, but we NEED our new techno gadgets in ti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090559)

While true, I read that as different. Do not buy launch PS4's. Wait 6 months for the crap ones to work their way out of the chain.

Forced labor = shody work.

Outrage (1)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 10 months ago | (#45090251)

"But those that accepted aren't being assigned work that matches their course or skill set."

This is different from 90% of internships in any other nation in the world... how exactly?

Re:Outrage (2)

gmclapp (2834681) | about 10 months ago | (#45090325)

I came here to say exactly this. I am a mechanical engineer and the company that I did my internship (where I am currently employed full time) put me on the floor running production more than once. I gained very valuable expertise doing this and coincidentally, if I had refused the company would have, and rightfully so, fired me. If they had fired me, I wouldn't have received the 9 credits that I got for my internship which were also necessary for me to graduate. There is nothing wrong with that. I didn't feel as though I was being taken advantage of and at the end of the day production work had better be in every engineer's skill set. Otherwise, you're going to have a lot of product design that works on paper and turns out to be shit in the real world.

Re:Outrage (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 10 months ago | (#45091125)

Maybe I'm misreading the story, but as I understand it, people who do not do the work aren't just not receiving credit, they are actually having credit *deducted*. If that is correct, there is definitely something fundamentally wrong with this.

Re:Outrage (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 10 months ago | (#45091419)

Maybe I'm misreading the story, but as I understand it, people who do not do the work aren't just not receiving credit, they are actually having credit *deducted*. If that is correct, there is definitely something fundamentally wrong with this.

Most likely it's like a maths test where you get 10 points for solving a problem, and get points deducted for errors in the solution. Just depends on how it is expressed.

Independent of that, it is very hard to decide whether an English language article matches reality in China, when there is huge room for misinterpretation, innocently or intentionally, or mistranslation, innocently or intentionally.

Re:Outrage (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 10 months ago | (#45090369)

It teaches one very valuable lesson. And that is that almost every job description includes something along the lines of "and other duties as assigned."

Don't count on tasks relevant to your skillset (4, Interesting)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about 10 months ago | (#45090253)

In most of the companies where I have worked, the interns were judged to be incapable of direct involvement in frontline work, whether that was coding, sales, process-based QA, support or technical documentation.
I did show on a couple of occasions that they could be useful in the QA, support and documentation roles on a limited basis, and when that was not possible, I always dragged my interns off to any meetings I was attending, and talked for what felt like the whole day about what I was doing, but mostly about "why" and "how" - by the time they got out of an internship and finished their education, the chances of them using the same tools as me was minimal anyway, so the processes and reasoning were more useful anyway.
Just about every other engineer and manager used their interns as coffee boys/girls or errand runners.
I cannot say that my interns were happier or felt more fulfilled than any of the others, but they were the ones who wanted to come back a second time, and I am pretty sure they learned a lot more (although one or two of our interns actually made coffee for the first time ever when they were with us).
The whole point of this self-patting-on-back is to say that interns rarely get tasks relevant to their skillset or needs. In this case, it seems like a bit of Chinese pragmatism, using the free resources they have available to maximise profit.

Re:Don't count on tasks relevant to your skillset (1)

gmclapp (2834681) | about 10 months ago | (#45090357)

I agree. Internships are supposed to be learning experiences first and foremost. Most companies that have internship programs would also like to hire on some of the interns they put so much time and effort into training. I personally wouldn't hire an intern that thought a little manual labor was below him/her. You learn a lot doing that stuff. Should they exclusively run production? Of course not. But should they do at least some of the manual stuff? Absolutely.

Re:Don't count on tasks relevant to your skillset (2)

MtHuurne (602934) | about 10 months ago | (#45091077)

We put our interns (CS students) on proof-of-concept projects. This gives the intern some shiny new tech to play with and it minimizes the risk to the primary business. If the project goes well, you can see whether the concept is promising to develop further, plus you get advance warning on some of the implementation problems, such as bugs in new devices or tooling. It does require some effort to get the intern up to speed and help them across some roadblocks they will encounter, but if the intern is any good this will be less work than figuring out everything yourself.

Internships are also a useful way to find people to hire after they graduate. You get to observe their work closely, so you'll know whether they are the kind of person you'd want to have in your company or not. And the intern gets to know people at the company, making your company more attractive and accessible for them to apply for a job when they start looking for one.

Welcome to the real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090263)

Not everyone gets to be an astronaut.

We aren't 'forcing' anyone! (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#45090329)

These accusations of coercion are blatantly defamatory. We are simply offering incentives, which the interns, as free and rational agents, are choosing to accept or decline. It's practically a libertarian utopia, trade among men, as equals, free from the dead hand of state power. Anyone who says otherwise is probably some sort of commie, who thinks that labor and capital negotiate from positions of unequal strength or some bullshit like that.

Re:We aren't 'forcing' anyone! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090447)

I really can't tell if this is an honest libertarian post, or a parody of one.

Re:We aren't 'forcing' anyone! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090515)

You need to make your use of sarcasm a little more obvious. The first time I read this I thought that it was a full and accurate representation of your point of view.

This just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090343)

China (Foxconn) commits civil rights violations and treats their workers unethically.

Wake me when one of the following happens:
1) They start paying their workers fairly
2) They start giving their workers some actual benefits
3) Their workers work "normal" hours (i.e. not 80 a week, minimum)
4) Their workers actually get some time off to spend with families
5) The workers can live somewhere off-site (though we fail there too, see the Googleplex, and Facebooks upcoming town)
6) Another Chinese company starts up that begins any of the above

Where is the story? (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 10 months ago | (#45090381)

I am a little confused at the real point of this story this is not about rioting of abusing child workers. Students "worldwide" working are routinely treated badly in a work placement. Personally I love the idea of future designers and engineers working on a production line. I can't help but think of the vast differences between the notoriously difficult to manufacture iPhone and the designed to be assembled Moto X.

Too common for too long all over the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090397)

Exploiting the labor of students under the guise of "internship" learning experience has been too common for too long all over the world, not just in China. The fact that there's growing sentiment against it is a good thing that will hopefully lead to reform. For now all anyone can do is shine a bright light into these dark corners and try to let the public see the disgusting scurrying cockroaches that those who run these programs (including officials at the universities who sponsor them) really are. My own internship experience while in school was mixed. I DID have to pay for the credits earned for both internships I participated in, but also received a small monthly "stipend" that helped pay for groceries (that didn't come close to offsetting the cost per credit of the course, but it was still nice to have). One of them allowed me to develop some criitical skills that really provided me with a professional advantage in my career. The other was pretty much a "make-work" job that didn't seem to have any purpose.

They could always jump off the roof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090411)

oh, wait. they will just land in nets. worst internship ever.

Can we finally agree (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | about 10 months ago | (#45090421)

to stop having shit made in China? We have the labour, technology, skills and parts to make it here at home.
I know why we don't (capitalism!) but damnit, we should.

I get a cheap PS4 (0)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 10 months ago | (#45090425)

They get their qualification. It's a win for all involved.

Stop interning (2)

areusche (1297613) | about 10 months ago | (#45090471)

This whole "intern" experience annoys the hell out of me. I had the unfortunate pleasure of being a coffee runner / bottom b!tch while I was in school too. If you're going to intern the companies need to pay them a minimum wage or whatever the going rate is for entry level people. Yes I know this is China, but even in the US a few years ago the whole intern thing was a complete excuse to slave labor college students.

My internship was a complete joke and a waste of my time. I know a few kids who were lucky, but the majority never had any "connections" to use when they left the internship and post college. Get a real part time job locally or in my case work at the on campus IT department which coincidentally helped me land my real first job with a salary and benefits.

Onto the topic at hand, when I buy products made in a third world country, I know for a fact somewhere along the line little starving children made it for pennies so I can buy it at a 300% markup. That's the whole point of globalization, to exploit a lesser countries cheaper labor and resources so we can upcharge local americans and pocket the markup. I don't understand the outrage people have. You're knowingly buying a product made from a country that doesn't care about its environment and people. That is why it is super cheap!

There is a reason there aren't any "free trade Xboxes" or "100% Fair Pay iPhones". If you don't like third world countries abusing their people and environment for your shiny new toy then don't buy it and live like it is 1994 without any real technology or keep using tech that was built from fabrication plants that were in the US.

Celebrate (1, Funny)

CimmerianX (2478270) | about 10 months ago | (#45090479)

Three Cheers for the Unregulated, Free Market...... hip hip .... (*WHIP*) Get back to work!!!

Similar schemes in the USA. (1)

Mabhatter (126906) | about 10 months ago | (#45090489)

It's not like we have similar schemes in the USA. Go into Legal, Entertainment, or Teaching and they all require long UNPAID internships doing work vaguely related to their field. Medical internships vary... Some are paid, some are not... It's really Manufacturing and Engineering internships in the USA that are Unique for almost always being paid in addition to college credit. Many internships you pay for college credit, and you pay again for "supervision" fees... And you work a bunch of free hours.

Bullshit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090517)

Foxconn is offering internships that provide six credits. If you fail to perform the requirements of the internship you do not get the credits!

I don't know of any company where the intern gets to dictate or choose what they want or feel like doing. The intern does what they are told or they can leave.

This whole story is bullshit! It is starting to look like Chinese students are developing the same sense of entitlement that U.S. students have. That's the end of your cheap electronics, bitches.

Yeah yeah the US does this too (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 10 months ago | (#45090543)

I agreed to be a "web intern" for the local newspaper one semester. I thought I'd be helping to design layouts or code bits. No, it turned out all I did was copy news stories from Quark and paste them into HTML, and modify/crop the newsprint images for the web. It was tedious, it was boring, and all I learned was that there really REALLY needed to be a pure HTML export feature in Quark and there wasn't one. It sucked.

But hey, I got free web experience and a line on my resume, right?

Sony "just the customer"?" My ass. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#45090817)

Sony is not "just the customer" here. First, they know that Foxconn regularly utilizes inhuman practices. Second, Foxconn ain't doing this with everyone. Sony is leaning on them hard.

You mean like our furloughed guys here in the US (1)

Supp0rtLinux (594509) | about 10 months ago | (#45090821)

There's quite a few people that are considered essential to national security (DHS, CBP, etc) that are still working right now, but with no paychecks coming in (presumably they will get back pay). I joked to a friend that having a job but no paycheck is called an internship. So maybe Foxconn is just taking a queue from the US only using students instead of essential employees.

slaves building useless crap for slaves who buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45090847)

We are on both sides (in my case my side is New York, their side is China) essentially wage slaves. I had a conversation recently, with food prices through the roof, at least we can balance the expense by having cheap technology here in the US. It is so sick of a world, I took today off from work, I had no choice I couldn't move my body, it felt like I just got home, and now it was time to go back to work. So I called in sick. An unfortunate burden on my co-workers, but I am getting to the point of complete breakdown of my body and mind. The stress for a 60 hour week, plus a 4 hour per day commute into the pit of hell in Manhattan does not compare to the hellish insanity the poor Chinese people have to go through. I followed the plan book, I studied in school, I graduated college and even got a graduate degree. All this to make about $40k after taxes to have to spend on food, clothing, shelter and electronic gadgets. I'm 36 years old male, never had a girlfriend and I just can't take it anymore. No one at work offers prostitution services, well because it's illegal so I am left with a PS3 a porno blu-ray and a fleshlight to prevent me from snapping.

Easily fixed (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 10 months ago | (#45091035)

1) Go to work dressed like this:
http://starckmarcandthefarc.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/china_art_1.jpg [wordpress.com]

2) Hand out these to the other factory workers, and recite loudly from it during lunch breaks:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/90/Quotations_from_Chairman_Mao_Tse-Tung_bilingual.JPG [wikimedia.org]

3) Repeat 1 and 2 until reassigned to IT work, or until fellow workers trash supervisors office for counterrevolutinary activity

.

Nothing new and overblown (1)

Guru80 (1579277) | about 10 months ago | (#45091089)

This has been how it's done in China for all of recent history. It's not going to change and there are a lot worse "internships" than assembling consoles in a factory. They assign kids to jobs ranging from the worst job imaginable to the best, it's just how things are done there.

Culture differences make things appear more "right" or "wrong" depending on where you live. There are a LOT of worse things to worry about China (or any nation) than their internship practices

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