Violent protests at Foxconn's largest iPhone factory in China
Beijing, Nov 23: The video clips of workers at Foxconn's vast iPhone factory in central China clashing with security personnel over Covid restrictions at the plant have gone viral.
In the clips, which have been verified by AFP news agency, workers are seen marching on a road, with some being confronted by riot police and people in hazmat suits.
Some people livestreamed the protests and said that they were being beaten up by the police. "They're hitting people, hitting people. Do they have a conscience?" a man with a bloodied face in a clip said. In one such viral video, fire trucks are seen surrounded by police and a voice on loudspeaker says, "All workers please return to their accommodation, do not associate with a small minority of illegal elements."
In another video, footage shared on a livestreaming site showed workers shouting, "Defend our rights! Defend our rights!" Other workers were seen smashing surveillance cameras and windows with sticks, according to a report in BBC.
Some employees told BBC that they were protesting after the company "changed the contract they promised". Some also feared being infected by the COVID-19 from the staff who were there during the previous outbreak.
Hundreds of workers at Foxconn factory that makes Apple main China iPhone plant clashed with security staff after being locked up for weeks to quash a Covid outbreak pic.twitter.com/qlZqhRUvFJ— Madhuri Adnal (@madhuriadnal) November 23, 2022
While the majority of the countries across the world have lifted Covid 19-related curbs, China has continued with its strict zero-Covid policy which has met with resentment among its population and sparked sporadic protests throughout the country. Residents in many cities have taken to street to vent their anger against the lockdowns and closures of businesses.
The incident became a trending topic on Weibo, China's version of Twitter but it was censored by the platform. Nonetheless, posts related to large-scale protests at the factory remains available on internet.
In October, Foxconn had locked down its site, leading some workers to flee the plant and go home. This made the company hire new workers with the promise of offering generous bonuses. Since then, it implemented closed-loop operations, thereby isolating itself from Zhengzhou.
On the other hand, neither Foxconn nor Apple has responded to the incident.
Foxconn, which is the world's biggest contract electronics manufacturer, assembling gadgets for many international brands, is China's biggest private sector employer. It employees with over a million people across the country in about 30 factories and research institutes.