Foxconn worker in China found dead, authorities investigating

Chinese press are calling the death a suicide

A Foxconn worker was found dead on Wednesday morning, with Chinese press calling it a suicide, but authorities are still investigating.

The Taiwanese manufacturer of Apple's iPhone said in a statement that the 22-year-old male worker was found dead outside an off-campus private apartment in Guanlan, a town near the major Chinese city of Shenzhen, where some of Foxconn's factories in the country are based.

"We have no other details regarding this tragedy and we are cooperating with Shenzhen law enforcement authorities as they carry out their investigation," the company added.

Local Chinese press, however, said the worker died by jumping off the apartment building in a suicide. Some reports noted the worker had slit his wrists before jumping off the building's ninth floor, but said the reason for his committing suicide was still unclear.

Staff at police stations in Guanlan said they were unaware of the situation, when called on Thursday.

In 2010, more than a dozen Foxconn workers attempted to commit suicide over the course of several months, according to labor protection groups. This sparked criticism against Foxconn and Apple for failing to provide better working conditions for its assembly workers.

Earlier this year, Apple announced the Fair Labor Association (FLA) would conduct audits of Foxconn factories, including one at Guanlan, which employs more than 70,000 workers.

In the FLA's latest audit of Foxconn, the group said the company was steadily making improvements in conditions at its factory. Foxconn has also said the company is committed to worker safety, and has been making changes including raising wages and limiting workers' overtime.

The company has however recently come under scrutiny for allegedly forcing vocational students to work at its factories, as part of its internship program. Foxconn denies the allegation, and has stated the workers are free to leave the program at anytime

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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