Over 1,000 Foxconn workers riot at iPhone and iPad display factory in China

“Despite Apple’s stated efforts to improve worker conditions at their Foxconn factories in China, worker tension is still high, as up to a thousand workers rioted in Chengdu last night for hours over a minor incident,” John Brownlee reports for Cult of Mac. “Foxconn’s Chengdu factory are where Apple’s iPhone and iPad displays are made.”

“According to Taiwan’s WantChinaTimes, Chengdu workers prevented a thief from being caught by Foxconn security guards, apparently due to some existing grudge,” Brownlee reports. “The altercation quickly escalated, and soon, up to 1,000 workers were hurling trash bins, chairs, bottles and pots from the upper floor of the dormitory where this took place. In addition, they fired off fireworks, and destroyed public facilities.”

Brownlee reports, “The rioting was only suppressed after several hours by a veritable army of hundreds of police officers, who arrested dozens of workers.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Dan K.” and “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]


  1. This is the product of Tim Cook directing Foxconn to go all mushy on their workers in hopes of currying more favorable press. Management should be cracking the whip harder than ever right now. You gave the mouse a cookie and now he’s asking for a glass of milk.

    1. Sorry R2, but abusing the worker, or anyone else for that matter, is entirely self-destructive. It leads directly to retribution by the people abused. In general psychology terms it is called Negative Reinforcement. The alternative is Positive Reinforcement whereby the employee is treated with respect and provided with incentives to work well and hard. Positive Reinforcement has unerringly proven to be superior to and more successful than Negative Reinforcement.

      Of course, the work place is not as simple as these two psychology terms. But they do successfully divide foolish managers from successful managers.

        1. And the puppet-masters that control the Government with their shadowy, unaccountable dollars. They don’t even have to tell us who they are, so when you go to Home Depot or buy Bounty paper towels you don’t realize you are funding your own control.

        2. Totally agree! And look at the result. My friends in beleaguered Europe keep asking me to defect and leave behind this TeaTard culture. But is it any better over there? The Neo-Con-Job created US depression is very real over there as well. Kind of a bummer all the way around.

          But everything is relative. I still get to create stuff, which is what keeps me happy.

      1. @Derek,

        While R2 is a bit mushy headed himself, most of the Foxconn workers are young adults who have migrated to the cities hoping to make lots of money. The best way to do that is to work of lots of hours. Having the number of hours that they can work reduced is one of the things they are upset about.

        I remember voluntarily working 7 days a week in my younger days, for the same reason.

        1. When I was 15 and working as a busboy, same thing. GIVE ME HOURS! I comprehend. It’s an interesting lash back against Apple’s ‘better treatment’ of contracted employees. We never know everything about anything. Surprise! They WANT long hours!

    1. And this is Apple’s fault Rob? Did you read any part of the article? I mean be fair here.

      A thief tried to steal something, we don’t know what. The thief was stopped by other workers who apparently have an on going issue with the thief. Rioting and violence escalated.

      The article refers to “Apple’s Foxconn Factories.” The factories are no more “Apple’s” than Harvey’s cleaners down the street belongs to me because that’s where I get my shirts pressed. (Crap I need to pick those up.)

      Not one word of this article sites working conditions as being the cause. Please don’t assume.

      Outside of the anti-Apple spin proliferated by the far left Labor Association, everything I read shows working conditions about as good as can be expected. You get a chair, you get tools, you do your work. You get breaks, you get lunch, you get paid, you get vacation an medical. Foxconn has to fight to make sure people to work too much because they will! They’ve had many raises since all the exaggerated and negative attention was tossed in Apple’s direction.

      Assembly line work is boring work, but the alternative is basically killing and plucking chickens along the boulevards. This is why people literally fight and riot TO GET those Foxconn jobs. I often wonder why people keep wanting Apple to bring those jobs back. The working conditions won’t be much better if they’re better at all. What could they do? Softer chairs?

      You need to really dig into China. Understand that we’re still looking at largely a 3rd world country with a rapidly emerging economy, still completely under the control of COMMUNISTS. I guess even a government that is as far left as you can go can’t create worker’s paradise.

      There are 1.8 billion people living in China. There are riots over everything. There are murders in China over things that cost less than an iPad. It’s a country where the murder of female children still goes on because they aren’t “worth” as much as male children. People kill each other over traffic accidents. I read of one where a guy ran over a cyclist, the cyclist tried to right down his license plate number, and he went back and stabbed the cyclist to death. Damn Apple. Probably somehow their fault as well.

      Companies like Apple and Walmart and others have lifted tens of thousands of Chinese families out of poverty on a monthly basis, but no one writes articles about that.

      China is not the United States. It is a beast of its own and right now those Foxconn plants are among the best of solutions, not the problem. They’re feeding families. They’re helping families educate their children.

      The culture is vastly different than ours. I watched a report where one man had a little fishing business. He started doing well. So what happened? A bunch of thugs ganged up, killed him, other members of his little business and family.

      Organized crime and corruption are RAMPANT, and it would be naive to think those tendrils did not reach into Foxconn. You can’t employ a million people ( A MILLION PEOPLE ) without being touched by organized crime in China. You can’t even have one little fishing business survive without lives being lost. Its very likely, *very likely* that Foxconn pays organized crime protection money, because if they don’t production can be, well, interrupted.

      Human beings are a commodity in China. You and I might look for a rational solution to a problem here in the U.S., but in China, just toss some bodies at it. They have plenty, and one is typically seen as no better or worse than another. True Socialist Equality.

      I’m sorry, but this crap about Apple and working conditions is just that. Crap. If you feel that Apple or anyone else is doing China a disservice by providing the opportunities they are, I will give you an extensive list of products to boycott, starting with anything made by Apple, and the name of a place where you can have yourself a nice protest sign made. Oh wait, that sign is most likely made by Chinese workers as well.

      1. Theo, an excellent post. As you intelligently point out, in China, as in all developing countries, wages and working conditions, while not up to the standards that prevail in the United States and other post-industrial Western societies, are nonetheless far, far better than they would be otherwise if not for Apple and other Western corporations. And, as you point out, would American workers really flock to low level and immensely boring work assembling Apple — or any manufacturers — products the way they do in countries like China? Of course not. For example, how many of the presently unemployed in California are willing to do stoop labor picking beans or strawberries? Why do large farmers in the Central Valley have to rely on Mexican laborers who come to the United States for precisely that work? And why are they willing to do that work? Because it pays better than anything available in Mexico. I’m constantly amazed by the ignorance displayed by those who accuse Apple and others of “exploitation” because they provide jobs for millions of Chinese who would likely be unemployed and unable to support themselves if Western companies shut their doors. Almost half of China’s population is still engaged in agriculture. And in China such labor is backbreaking because it is virtually devoid of machinery. If China allowed the introduction of farm machinery to the extent that exists in the U.S. today — where about 3 percent of the population is employed today — China would be facing a huge unemployment crisis. Its urban areas would be flooded with hundreds of millions of workers seeking non-existent jobs. Hence China refuses to modernize its agricultural sector, fearing the consequences, as well it should. The work Apple and others provide is a godsend for China and its people.

      2. Reading comprehension isn’t a strength with you is it?

        The workers stopped SECURITY from apprehending the thief, over beef with SECURITY. This confrontation with SECURITY led to the rioting.

        How nice that walmart is so generously lifting the chinese from poverty. Amazing given that it does all it can to keep American employees impoverished and under the boot. Never mind all the “small business” it has destroyed. Never mind the negative environmental impact it has.

        China’s brand of communism (Maoism) is NOT far left, nice try neoCON, I see what you did there. The Maoists are centrists.

        I do however agree on the foxconn plants being good things for the Chinese.

  2. It is neither healthy nor just how those workers have to live in cramped, gloomy dorms and eat, sleep and breath life at the factory. Hope Steve had some long-term vision for bringing manufacturing back to USA that Tim can plan to implement.

    1. Steve’s long-term plan involved America changing its entire educational, manufacturing and infrastructure to bring together, in one geographic area, tens of thousands of engineers and hundreds of thousands of willing low-wage workers, along with dozens of suppliers.

      He famously told Pres. Obama that those jobs were “never coming back.” Sadly, he’s right.

      Considering how badly America’s students do in math and science, compared with the rest of the industrialized world, it doesn’t look like we’re going to a high-tech manufacturing powerhouse any time soon.

      Just like McDonald’s doesn’t want to deal with small growers because they need factory to grind out such enormous quantities of everything, Apple can’t deal with small US high-tech manufacturing if they’re expected to produce millions of phones, tablets and computers every month.

  3. What was the minor incident, I wonder? Was it Tim calling at 3:00 am, as Steve did, saying wake up the folk, give them some tea and a biscuit, we need to redo the million new iPhones and replace the glass screen with the new Corning flexible glass screen. Have a nice day!

    1. try reading the article, it tells you.
      The workers don’t like the security people.
      They get caught stealing and security catches them, so they don’t like them.

  4. I am actually losing patience with Foxconn workers. They have had their wages increased 3x since 2010, and Apple pays for them to further their education.

    They know it is a dream job compared to other factories but they are acting like entitled children.

    Spread the work across Asia, South America and the US.

  5. Again, these are Foxconn’s employees. NOT APPLE’S EMPLOYEES! Just because some part of something that someone buys has a scandal involved in making it, doesn’t mean that the end user is responsible. If that is the case, then every car part, toy part, food source, … will come into question. What are you going to say when the robots replace these people and they are sent home with nothing? They are not forced to work there. This is not a slave camp. They choose to work at Foxconn.

  6. And yet, not one real insight from the article or the comments…

    People don’t riot over petty things or single actions. There must have been many over problems, and this was the one that ignited the anger.

    C’mon people, you’ve been on this planet how long and you are still acting clueless?

    I should get a job as a councilor and merely point out the obvious for others.

      1. Really? Spelling errors? Everyone makes spelling errors. Its particularly difficult to edit your comments here, because you aren’t allowed to edit. I often make mistakes. I substitute words and then later wonder what the heck was I thinking. Sometimes you’re typing so fast you just goof up. So pay attention to his point, not his spelling error. When you start pointing out spelling errors, it’s kind of an indication you’ve lost the debate.

        1. Wow, I agree with TMac on something! Why bother picking on typos when the guy makes a decent argument. We don’t know the conditions at these factories, and have no idea what stresses are being built up on a daily basis.

    1. Agreed.

      1000 people don’t riot over some random small matter.

      The more I read about Foxconn, the more it reminds me of a prison of sorts.

      By china standards it may be great and it sure seems like they have thousands who want jobs there so I don’t know what to think overall.

      I think there are cultural differences and I applaud apple for the steps they are taking to try and improve any conditions they can. Apple is going above and beyond by taking an interest , not many companies do that.

      1. Utter nonsense. Do you people know anything about mobs? It doesn’t take much to cause a riot. I know, I was at Tiananmen Square.

        Foxconn most reminds me of school, with 6 to a room, and security guards at the gates. That’s the way it was at your typical school in China.

        1. Yes I do know a thing or two about mobs actually. I’ve been in a couple of riots by choice and by complete chance.

          So the Tiananmen Square protests just randomly started out of nowhere huh?

          It didn’t have anything to do with ongoing issues over corruption or lack of economic opportunities???

          I guess half a million people who were happy and content with their lives just decided to risk everything for shits and giggles. *rolls eyes*

  7. Living conditions is pretty tight there and I can imagine tension will build. First thing is that they should have social activities. Most don’t even socialize with one and other, but yet they are jammed up in a room with 8 other people. That should change. Let’s have 2 per room. A room is a studio. How long do you think you could handle it? Gosh I wanted to kill my dorm roommate in college and that was just one person! If there isn’t activities to do it, it can be pretty frustrating for any human being. Our minds demand stimulus and when you don’t get enough of it, you will go insane. So hopefully Apple is addressing those issues. It isn’t easy being on TOP.

    1. They have a huge amount of social activities at the plants. Whole soccer fields-multiple, basketball, movie theaters, restaurants, shops of all kinds, gyms, etc.
      Don’t think of their ‘factory’ like one of the automobile factories as they are no where near the same. The living conditions, like anywhere, are good and bad- but at the foxconn facilities it is 100x better there than where the workers came from.
      Remember, there are over 1 million workers there, working the lines producing many, many different companies products. Their factories are set up as cities, not just a big box with working lines.

  8. We suffer from a lack of information in this article yet somehow Apple is dragged into it.
    1) Whose employees were they? I know they are Foxconn’s but were they doing Dell assembly? Are they a mix of people in the dorms assembling on different company contracts? so nothing can be attributed to anyone (except Foxconn)?
    2) THis was a security issue, not against Apple or any other company. Maybe they pay Dell employees less than Apple so that as a whole they are grumpier…..

    1. No one would want to read the article if it only stated that workers in a Chinese factory were rioting. The fact that Apple products are manufactured there makes it worth reading. Who would want to read about a riot at a Chinese factory where Dell products are made? 🙂

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