Do you trust a microblog? Most people will require more proof.
Foxconn Longhua building C4, double suicide reported widely on Internet: Numbers 14, 15 suicides at Foxconn, Xiang Jianxin, Sina.com microblogger, lastest scoop, at around noon, double suicide at Foxconn Longhua C4 building, terrible sight at the scene, the scene has been sealed off. Details need to be confirmed.
富士康龙华C4栋双人跳 富士康惊人14跳15跳 16跳
May 27, 2010 Views Comments 0 富士康龙华C4栋双人跳已经在网络流传：富士康第14，15跳，项建新，新浪微博，最新爆料，12点左右，富士康龙华C4栋双人跳，现场惨不忍睹，现场被封锁。具体如何，还需要进一步确认。
Taiwan iPhone-maker Foxconn suffers another death
Page last updated at 14:46 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010 15:46 UK
E-mail this to a friend Printable version Critics say Foxconn employees work under military conditions Another suspected suicide has occurred at a factory in China, the latest in a string of deaths at the plant this year, state media reports.
Xinhua said the male employee jumped to his death hours after a media tour at
the plant owned by Taiwan firm Foxconn.
The firm manufactures mobile
phones and electronic equipment for top brands including Dell computers and
The death would be the 10th suicide at the plant this year - two
other people have survived similar falls.
One man was also reported to
have killed himself at another Foxconn plant in Hebei province earlier this
On Thursday, another employee in Shenzhen attempted to kill
himself by cutting his wrists but survived after medical attention, said Xinhua.
The Foxconn plant in Shenzhen employs more than 400,000 people.
Police officials said the man who died on Wednesday
was a 23-year-old from Gansu province, who had been working at the plant for
about a year.
Witnesses said he had jumped from the seventh floor of a
dormitory building, Xinhua reported.
Mr Gou said the company was trying
hard to prevent further deaths The death came just hours after the chairman of
Foxconn, Terry Gou, one of Taiwan's most famous businessmen, took reporters
around the vast Shenzhen plant.
Mr Gou apologised repeatedly, and said
he had trouble sleeping but would not stop trying to solve the problem.
"We need some time," he said. "But we are confident. We are extremely
The company is training counsellors and has provided
leisure facilities for the workers. It has also put up nets around the
"Although this seems like a dumb measure, at least it could
save a life should anyone else fall," said Mr Gou.
Labour activists in
nearby Hong Kong have criticised alleged poor conditions at the factory and
called for a symbolic boycott of iPhones in protest.
The activists claim
shifts at the plant are long, the assembly line moves too fast and that managers
enforce military-style discipline on the workforce.
Foxconn points out
that despite the bad publicity, each day around 8,000 people still apply to work
at the factory.
Companies which commission work from the plant have said
they are concerned by the reports.
Sharon Zhang, a spokeswoman for Dell,
told the AFP news agency the company was investigating the reports.
reports of poor working conditions in Dell's supply chain are investigated and,
if warranted, appropriate action is taken. We expect our suppliers to employ the
same high standards we do in our own facilities," she said.
Packard said it was "investigating the Foxconn practices that may be associated
with these tragic events".
Apple, whose iPhones are made at the plant,
said it was "deeply committed to ensuring that conditions throughout our supply
chain are safe and workers are treated with respect and dignity".
has said it will evaluate what Foxconn is doing to address the problems and
continue ongoing inspections of the facilities where its products are made.
Why Are The Media Evading The True Reasons Why Foxconn Workers Are Jumping Off Buildings?
(05/27/2010) (Xu Tianming at 21ccom.net)
At a time when the media are flooded with accusations that the "ten successive jumps" by Foxconn workers are due to their corporate management/sub-contractor model, we find that no press media are telling us the specific reasons why they are committing suicide.
My understanding is that the first suicide case was Ma Xiangqian, whose family still refuses to accept that he killed himself. First, they said that he died after being assaulted by his supervisors; next, they said that he was beaten to death by hometown workers; now they are saying that he was beaten to death by security guards.
The second suicide case was due to economic pressure on a person who has an ailing father and impoverished family circumstances. The third case was someone whose spring vacation overtime pay was stolen from him. The seventh case was a man with a mental problem. During the Labor Day holiday, Foxconn assigned two fellow students to keep him company. His parents were supposed to show up in Shenzhen the next day. The two fellow students stayed with him in the company hotel, but they failed to stop him from jumping. The eighth case was a person with romance problems. The family of the ninth case thinks that it had to do with a job transfer. The stated reason for the tenth case was that he owed several thousand yuan in gambling debt.
During the last month or so, Foxconn has already stopped more than 30 "abnormal" cases. Most of these involve emotional problems for women. One Foxconn worker demanded to meet with his ex-girlfriend who works at Foxconn. He also demanded 250,000 yuan from Foxconn or else he threatens to jump off the building. There was a couple from Hubei with the guy beating and berating the woman to jump off the building so that he could collect the compensation. Another young man broke up with girlfriend and sent a text message to his family to state his intention to commit suicide. This person was finally located after people in Shenzhen and Shanxi worked hard to find him.
Another unmentioned fact is that the "ten suicide cases" were relatively new workers at Foxconn, with tenure between as little as 28 days and as long as 6 months.
The media also do no mention the fact that the suicide rate at Foxconn is far less than the national average. According to the 2009 World Health Organisation research report, about 1 million people committed suicide around the world in 2009 of which 26% were in China. Assuming a population of 1.3 billion in China, the suicide rate is about 20 persons per 100,000 persons per annum. This report said that suicide is the fifth most common cause of death in China, and the most common cause among young women.
Why are the media evading these facts?
First, they want to earn eyeballs. When workers from other companies commit suicide, nobody cares. But when Huawei and Foxconn workers commit suicide, they will have full-page coverage. This is because Huawei and Foxconn are famous. For example, two persons jumped out of buildings in Shenzhen and died in April. Virtually no media reported that. In Guangzhou, two men took pesticide in a pact and one died. Three "second-generation poor persons" committed suicide together in Hangzhou. These suicides were unreported in the newspapers; even if reported, nobody cares. But the national media are stationed outside Foxconn, ready to report on more suicides.
Secondly, an in-depth report requires an exploration of corporate management. If one analyzes the specific reasons why the specific individuals committed suicide, one may get a good picture of the psychologies and social conditions of the post-90's generation but one cannot tie this easily to corporate management. In this way, the media lose their focus and the reason for running an in-depth investigation, and their reports therefore seem ill-informed. These reporters simply don't understand what corporations, or management, or manufacturing are about.
Thirdly, the "ten successive Foxconn suicides" and ten school ground murder cases are related to irresponsible media reporting. Overseas, these phenomena are known as "suicide contagion" or "violence contagion." In those ten school ground murder cases, almost 100 children died or were injured. The media were simply unable to explain administrative problems at specific schools. Therefore their reporting can only be called the classical "violence contagion." Compared to the school ground violence, the Foxconn workers' choice of locations and methods are even more classical "suicide contagion." Therefore, the media are the arch-criminal in leading young people to commit suicide in China. In mid-April, I called for attention on this issue but the media has been unwilling to address it.
Fourthly, Foxconn competitors are using these incidents to attack Foxconn. Recently, there was a popular Internet post about how Foxconn security guards beat up a worker and then tossed him out of a building. This post came originally from "Anhui" which allowed some people to figure out where the prime mover behind the scene is located. In 2005, a certain "Foxconn sweat shop factory" media report came from an overseas competitor who wanted to pry the Apple account away from Foxconn. So there are some people who think that some of the current media reports are being manipulated by Foxconn competitors.
I believe that the media should make objective reports. That is how to act responsibly. They should not manufacture news for personal interests.
[ESWN comment: Why do the Chinese media and Internet users seem to want to see Foxconn dead? I cannot not help but go back to August 2006 when Foxconn sued a newspaper editor and a newspaper reporter for 10,000,000 yuan each on defamatory reporting. They did not sue the newspaper -- they sued the media workers for huge sums of money. (The Unpublished FoxConn Story) "The FoxConn method of litigation was particularly vile. If they succeeded with this, all reporters would live in fear of litigation about their reporting. This was a challenge to the entire field of journalism in China as well as the freedom of press. Therefore, the reaction of the field of journalism contains an instinct of self-preservation. FoxConn had used a similar method to prosecute Commercial Times reporter Joyce Kuang in Taiwan, but they retreated under pressure from the Journalist Association. From thereon, very few reporters in Taiwan dared to report on Foxconn and even fewer dare to criticize Foxconn." A suicide cluster is a valid news story and therefore the Chinese media are using this occasion for payback time. That is one way to look at it.]
Suicide Rates At Foxconn (05/27/2010)
How many people commit suicide in China each year?
From The Irish Times , "About two million Chinese attempt to take their own lives each year, and 280,000 of those die."
What is the population size of China?
From China Population and Development Research Center , the population clock at this moment is 1,337,445,409.
What is the suicide rate (per 100,000) in China each year?
100,000 x 280,000 / 1,337,445,409 = 20.9 suicides per 100,000 persons each year
How many persons committed suicide at Foxconn (Shenzhen campuses) this year?
10 persons died after falling out of buildings. Two more fell down buildings but survived. Another slip the wrist but survived.
How many people work at the Foxconn (Shenzhen) factories?
From Xinhua , "Of Foxconn's 800,000 employees in China's mainland, 420,000 are based in Shenzhen."
What is the suicide rate among Foxconn (Shenzhen) workers?
100,000 x 10 / 420,000 = 2.38 suicides per 100,000 persons each year
So what is the big deal on Foxconn? The suicide rate (2.38) there is much lower than the national average (20.9). So there is nothing here -- you should all go home ...
Oh, wait. But this is not how these comparisons should work.
First, only about 5 months have passed out of the 12 months this year. Under an assumption of a constant suicide rate, there are expected to be 2.38 x 12 / 5 = 5.71 suicides per 100,000 persons this year.
What specific factors affect suicide rates in China?
From The Irish Times , "The rates of suicide are particularly high in the countryside, with rural suicide rates three times higher than in the cities." Therefore, the national suicide rate is raised by the rural areas. A proper comparison ought to be against the urban areas only.
From the World Health Organisation suicide rates (per 100,000) in selected urban areas by gender and age in China for 1999, we see:
The Foxconn workers are young persons in the 15-24 to 25-34 age groups. So the suicide rate (per 100,000) may be taken to be (3.5 + 6.3) / 2 = 4.9 suicides per 100,000 persons per annum.
From the World Health Organisation , the overall suicide rate in selected urban and rural areas in China for 1999 is 13.9. These are 1999 data. If we assume the same ratios between 15-34 and total population, the suicide rate (per 100,000) for persons 15-24 in Chinese urban areas today is 20.9 x 4.9 / 13.9 = 7.37 suicides per 100,000 persons.
Unfortunately, the assumption of constant suicide rates for the rest of the year will not hold. If you look at the first five months, there is a clear acceleration already in suicides/attempted suicides:
1. January 23, 2010
2. March 11, 2010
3. March 17, 2010 (attempted suicide)
4. March 29, 2010
5. April 6, 2010
6. April 7, 2010
7. May 6, 2010
8. May 11, 2010
9. May 14, 2010 (attempted suicide)
10. May 21, 2010
11. May 25, 2010
12. May 26, 2010
Why would the suicide rate pick up? See Wikipedia on Copycat Suicide:
A copycat suicide is defined as an emulation of another suicide that the person attempting suicide knows about either from local knowledge or due to accounts or depictions of the original suicide on television and in other media.
The massive wave of emulation suicides after a widely publicized suicide is known as the Werther effect, following the Werther novel of Goethe.
The well-known suicide serves as a model, in the absence of protective factors, for the next suicide. This is referred to as suicide contagion. They occasionally spread through a school system, through a community, or in terms of a celebrity suicide wave, nationally. This is called a suicide cluster.
To prevent this type of suicide, it is customary in some countries for the media to discourage suicide reports except in special cases.
Various countries have national journalism codes which range from one extreme of, "Suicide and attempted suicide should in general never be given any mention" (Norway) to a more moderate, "In cases of suicide, publishing or broadcasting information in an exaggerated way that goes beyond normal dimensions of reporting with the purpose of influencing readers or spectators should not occur. Photography, pictures, visual images or film depicting such cases should not be made public" (Turkey) Many countries do not have national codes but do have in-house guidelines along similar lines. In the US there are no industrywide standards and a survey of inhouse guides of 16 US daily newspapers showed that only three mentioned the word suicide and none gave guidelines about publishing the method of suicide. Craig Branson, online director of the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), has been quoted as saying, "Industry codes are very generic and totally voluntary. Most ethical decisions are left to individual editors at individual papers. The industry would fight any attempt to create more specific rules or standards, and editors would no doubt ignore them."
What will the Chinese and western media do? Camp outside the factory and try to scoop the next suicide? Or stay mum on future suicides to quell the copycat suicides?
(ESWN comment: There was a suicide at the neighborhood shopping mall today. Someone jumped from the seventh floor of the building into the flower bed on the ground level. The area was immediately blocked off and the body was quickly taken away. One hour later, shoppers wouldn't know what happened earlier. I understand that they will bring monks into the mall after midnight to say prayers. I wonder if I will read about this in the Hong Kong newspaper tomorrow.]