Protests at Apple facility in China: After nearly a month of stringent restrictions meant to contain a Covid outbreak, tensions at Apple Inc.’s primary iPhone manufacturing facility in China erupted into violence between hundreds of employees and security guards.
According to recordings given by a witness to some of the demonstration, workers at the Foxconn Technology Group facility flooded out of dormitories early on Wednesday, shoving and pushing past the white-clad guards they much outnumbered.
In another clip, several individuals in white suits beat a victim who was lying on the ground with sticks. “Fight, fight!” was shouted by onlookers as crowds of people pushed over barriers. At one point, a group of people approached a police car that was in motion and started shaking it while yelling gibberish.
Protests at Apple facility in China
According to the witness, who asked to remain anonymous out of concern for the consequences, the protest began overnight over unpaid salaries and concerns about the spread of infection. Anti-riot police were called to the scene on Wednesday to restore order after several workers were hurt.
The infrequent acts of violence at the facility in Zhengzhou, a major city in central China, are a reflection of the rise in stress since the lockdown started in October. Many of the more than 200,000 employees at “iPhone City” have been put into isolation, forced to eat meagre meals, and forced to scrounge for medication.
Last month, several eventually left the plant on foot. In recent weeks, Foxconn and the local government seemed to have the problem under control, promising better working conditions and paying extremely high rates to recruit new employees.
In one video, enraged employees gathered a mute, despondent manager in a conference room to air complaints and query the results of their Covid tests. When the meeting took place was unclear.
A male employee commented, “I’m genuinely worried about this facility; we may all be Covid positive now.” Another person said, “You are killing us.” Representatives from Foxconn declined to comment on the situation.
The demonstrations on Wednesday morning indicate such is no longer the case. It demonstrates how Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero programme, which relies on quick lockdowns to eradicate the disease wherever it manifests, is putting more and more strain on the economy and upending large portions of the global supply chain.
Beijing recently released fresh guidelines ordering officials to limit disturbance and employ more focused COVID regulations, but escalating outbreaks in key cities have compelled local authorities to once again reach for strong curbs.