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China Iphone Apple News Technology

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

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  • by BMOC ( 2478408 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @06:34PM (#41254335)

    ...so it evens out in college.

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

  • by stevez67 ( 2374822 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @06:50PM (#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.
  • So, what...? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sez Zero ( 586611 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @06:53PM (#41254559) Journal
    Does that mean there's a labor shortage in China? If so, then things are about to get interesting.
  • by TheEffigy ( 2666397 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:07PM (#41254691)
    So they agreed to an internship and had to work as a result? Welcome to reality.
  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:09PM (#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?

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:20PM (#41254837) Homepage

    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.

  • Read the article... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeko ( 179919 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:28PM (#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?"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:36PM (#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.

  • by jeko ( 179919 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:43PM (#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.

  • by PaulBu ( 473180 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:58PM (#41255181) Homepage

    ... we, university students (personal experience), but also, I've heard more seniour people in "intellectual" line of employment were forced in the Fall to go help our collectivized farmers pick up potatoes and do some other harvest-related work. (Kartoshka! ;-) )...

    I do not know if, given my current line work, I would enjoy assembling high-tech stuff more than that (and would definitely learn more from it), but, overall, I, personally, did not mind at all, it was an excuse to live outside the control of our parents (for those of us who did not go to school in another city/lived in dorm which was less common than in this country), get as drunk as our farmer hosts, shmooze with girls, etc. ;-) As to actual work -- my buddies and myself self-organized to proclaim that we are going to do actual "hard" work, loading bags of potato on trucks, while the rest do "easy" part, pick and load the bags... Of course it would take much more actual time to fill a bag than to throw it into the truck, the rest we spent hanging out and baking potatoes!

    Somehow I think that efficiency necessary to assemble iPhones would preclude those Chinese kids to have any good times though, but do not think that it was/is not common in "Communist" countries.

    (And, no, we did not get paid, unless you could a bag of potatos which you might or might not sneak back home at the end).

    Paul B.

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @10:54PM (#41256407)

    You mean RIM? BioWare? Bombardier? ATI?

    Without a doubt, the oil industry has been a disaster for canada. We went from being a manufacturing economy producing almost 50% more cars per capita than the US, to a place where making cars is becoming too expensive.

    It's economy is still based on oil and logging.

    I realize the US perception of canada is out of date, but that's 100 years out of date. As I say though, oil causing us a lot of grief, it's good for newfoundland because there aren't a lot of them, but it's driving up the dollar.

    It is silly to say that Canada is doing better than the USA when Canada is essentially completely dependent on it's proximity to the USA:

    No, we aren't dependent. We're close, that means it's convenient to buy and sell from the US. We also recognize that this plan isn't working out, and it's time to move on. That's why we're building east west oil pipelines for example. If we weren't close to the US we'd be doing the same thing as Australia, who isn't near anyone, and trading with anyone.

    even though Canada has vastly greater natural resources per capita than the USA.

    In places no one lives. Not really a fair comparison.

    In global rankings such as HDI we are about the same

    On healthcare, wealth distribution we're doing better. On HDI we are in a statistical tie. If you are going to be in the wealthiest 1% so to speak you want to be in the US. If you want to be anyone else, you're better off in canada. By a long shot.

    I may not like our conservatives, but we don't have a political party that has institutionalized living in a fantasy land the like the republicans, we've actually had healthcare for years. We no longer have groups of people fighting over basic issues, like access to abortion, or the right to vote, because we're all in this together, and we've moved on from that nonsense. We don't throw huge numbers of people in jail because we actually make decisions based on evidence, not based on some misguided notion of justice.

    Money isn't everything, but even in that we're doing better - because we had more regulation, and more socialism than the US in 2008.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @11:25PM (#41256537)

    "Forced" doesn't mean "I had to do it because I needed the money" in China.

    Correct. In China it means "I had to do it to get college credit."

    Is it really so wrong to require students to get some practical experience?

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @11:33PM (#41256567)

    A global economy means that all wages experience downward pressure towards the lowest common denominator. Either we pay the Chinese more, or we accept Chinese wages in the US. I know which approach I prefer.

    As to robots, you're absolutely right. Which is why we need to transition away from such rigid capitalism as soon as possible. By the end of the 21st century, there's going to be a lot less work for humans to do. That can either be a good thing, with people having more time to enjoy life, or a terrible thing, where we punish those not lucky enough to be born into a robot-factory-owning family.

    And for what it's worth, I don't bear any particular ill will towards Apple over this. By all accounts, they hold their contractors to higher standards than most. They just happen to be the most visible, so they end up serving as the face of the whole industry.

  • by HideyoshiJP ( 1392619 ) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @11:57PM (#41256671)
    While also creating more American jobs than the domestic production... I'm not sure on GM, but I'm fairly certain Ford makes a ton of passenger cars in Mexico and only makes light trucks in the good ol' US of A. Luckily for people who like having jobs, trucks make up a good chunk of Ford/GM sales.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson