China Business

China’s Foxconn Suicides Explained

China suicides

This is the first I have written on the Foxconn suicides because until now I have felt I had nothing to contribute.

I still feel I have nothing to contribute, but I like Jack Perkowski’s analysis so much, I am going to quote and refer to it. In his post,The Foxconn Suicides, Perkowski gives a number of explanations as to why he does not believe those suicides directly result from sweatshop conditions, but I found the following two most convincing.

  • Electronics have been manufactured for many years in plants like the one operated by Foxconn. In my time here, I’ve never heard of such a suicide epidemic. Why all of a sudden?
  • At the same time all of this is happening, there has been a spate of attacks on schools and schoolchildren in China, which is also unusual and unprecedented. I’m not a psychologist, but there must be a broader, sociological explanation for both recent epidemics.

What do you think?

5 responses to “China’s Foxconn Suicides Explained”

  1. Way too much importance is given to these suicides and these school attacks. People tend to imitate what others do, especially when they are cut from their usual social circles, and it pushes some of them to imitate even suicides. And then it looks like an epidemic.
    It has been well documented (see “copycat suicides” on Wikipedia).

  2. I have never been to Foxconn’s plants in China but I’ve been working with China for a while and phisically there twice, and I do not think these recent tragical events are a result of poor working conditions. Even because all over China work conditions are, in a western view, not quite perfect. I heard once Mr. Carlos Grosn (Renault-Nissan Group’s president) saying that the western world is addicted to waste, and that Asia would grow because they have more austere (and eficient) ways of life. Everything has its pros and cons, and the Chinese way of production of working harder and longer in a way is more eficient economically speaking, but on the other hand it makes people unhappier and without a sense of enjoying life. In todays world, the best asset for a country is to have poor available labour force, and if they do not mind to work for 10 or 12 hours a day, even better. Why are Brazil and China growing in times when the developed world is strugling? I think because they do not have the “developed economies” problematics to deal with now, and they both are beeing able to adjust to new times when countries like the US, Germany and England are in a structural break. China is going to change the world for better with its low cost products, allowing people in the undeveloped world to have access to goods only available to the rich previously. There will no longer be easy oportunities available for countries that spend a lot and produce few. With a greater part of the world getting rich, oportunities are going to get scarce and competition get greater, thus reducing margins. Fasten your seatbelts gentleman. The world has changed and few people has actually realized it.

  3. I think Jack needs to do more research. his statement #2 is just plain false:
    “2. Given all of the press and the activities of human rights groups over the years, high profile companies like Apple, HP and others. pay great attention to working conditions at their suppliers in China. Audits, which take into account a range of issues such as safety in addition to quality controls, are conducted frequently. If working conditions were that bad, they would be telling management and would ultimately distance themselves from the factory if corrective actions weren’t taken.”
    .. a simple read of Apple’s 2008 and 2009 supplier responsibility reports, coupled with the fact that both Foxconn and Wintek have had MULTIPLE labor failures over a multi-year period, is simple proof enough that Apple is not “pay great attention to working conditions at their suppliers in China” or “telling management and would ultimately distance themselves from the factory if corrective actions weren’t taken”
    Conditions ARE that bad, and neither Foxconn (in the case of the recent suicides) nor Apple (with more than 50% of their China based supplier out of compliance) are taking it seriously enough.

  4. I suspect part of the reason the Foxconn suicides have gotten so much coverage is because it’s a Taiwan-owned company. If it were a mainland private company, there would be less popular hostility against it, and if it were a state-owned company, the discussion would have been shut down long ago.

  5. You are correct in your statement that the working conditions are not the cause of the deaths. But there is something else that is responsible, Subliminal Distraction exposure. Foxconn put the workers too close together and they were unaware that could allow Subliminal Distraction exposure. The workers are having the mental break this phenomenon is known to cause.
    Each suicide should be evaluated for the conditions of the individual work location. If Subliminal Distraction is happening there would have been repeating detectable movement in the peripheral vision of the dead worker from that location.
    It is possible to have exposure away from work if the worker played video games in a business that put the terminals side by side.
    The problem has never appeared on a factory work floor before. It is not believed to cause suicides but no one has investigated it since the discovery forty years ago.
    Each semester there is a new list of strange disappearances and suicides of college students in the United States. No school is aware of the problem and they do not provide Cubicle Level Protection were it is needed nor do they warn students. There are pages explaining Subliminal Distraction on my site.
    The same deaths have been happening at France Telecom. They had 26 suicides in the last 20 months at France Telecom offices scattered around France.
    Students at 14 Ontario elementary schools have symptoms of headache, dizziness, nausea, memory loss, strange skin sensations, and trouble sleeping. Parents blame Wi-Fi EMR and want the transmitters turned off. But pictures available on line show that it is also Subliminal Distraction. .Wi-Fi lets the students sit anywhere to use a computer. They sit crowded together, in each other’s peripheral vision without Cubicle Level Protection.
    The Redlake school shooter, Virginia Tech shooter, Jokela Finland school shooter, and Atlanta Day Trader killer all created the “special circumstances” for Subliminal Distraction exposure.

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