Report claims thousands of Chinese students forced to work on Apple’s new iPhone 5

“Thousands of students in an east China city are being forced to work at a Foxconn plant after classes were suspended at the beginning of the new semester, it has been revealed,” Li Qian reports for Shanghai Daily. “Students from Huai’an in Jiangsu Province were driven to a factory in the city run by Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Company after the plant couldn’t find sufficient workers for the production of Apple’s much-anticipated iPhone 5, they said in online posts. A student majoring in computing at the Huaiyin Institute of Technology said 200 students from her school had been driven to the factory.”

Qian reports, “They started work on the production line last Thursday and were being paid 1,550 yuan (US$243.97) a month for working six days a week, she said. But they had to pay hundreds of yuan for food and accommodation, she said in an online post under the name of mengniuIQ84. Several other students from at least five colleges backed up what she said, saying they were being forced to work for 12 hours a day.”

“MengniuIQ84 wrote that the authorities had ordered the schools to send students to assist Foxconn but said that the factory neither informed parents nor signed agreements with students,” Qian reports. “One or two schools had canceled their internship programs with Foxcon after media exposure and pressure from the public, she said, but her institute had no plans to do so and had even punished students who had tried to leave the factory.”

“According to a China National Radio report, teachers from local schools admitted suspending routine classes over the next one or two months,” Qian reports. “They said the internships were a compulsory course for students to ‘experience working conditions and promote individual ability,’ the report said. The Huai’an Education Bureau said they were aware such programs ran during the summer break but did not know that schools had continued them into the new semester.”

Qian reports, “”An official, who refused to be named, said it was a common practice to send students to renowned companies and factories, something that served the enterprises and expanded students’ horizons, he said. ‘It’s hard for students to find jobs which are precisely related to their majors. Therefore, they are encouraged to go to factories to learn more about society,’ he said. However, Wu Dong, a lawyer, said the practice violated higher education laws and labor laws and the schools, education and labor rights authorities and Foxconn could be sued.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hey, whatever it takes. As long as we get our iPhone 5 units on schedule, no harm, no foul.


We prefer to wait a bit to hear the rest of the story – surely there must be more to this – before opining on it, but here’s a bottom-line preview:

If true, terrible. Apple should do whatever they can to rectify the situation.
If not, yellow journalism. How much did _______ pay to plant this bit o’ FUD?


  1. My best guess is true .
    Did you expect the IPhone to grow on trees ?
    The third world is suffering to support the first world …
    All the first world nations cry foul about the mistreatment but the private corporation are supporting it.

    1. @Zulkifi… The third world is NOT suffering to support the first world.. they are glad to do it, I get out of my country because there was no jobs in there, “First World” country are establishing production plants in there and thank to them they have a lot of open positions to work without leaving their families behind.
      If it wasn’t for the First World companies, many people in China, Bangalore, Manila, Brasil, Mexico, and many other “Third world” countries wouldn’t have decent jobs.
      Also, as it turn out, they pay A LOT better and have a LOT BETTER conditions compared with their own home land companies.

      1. Good wages as opposed to none, I suppose. Those corporations will be great until you realize they are polluting your country and are only there so they can manufacture using cut rate labor and are free to pollute at will.

        They are no longer in first world countries because workers demanded living wages and government regulators enacted rules which cost them money, but benefitted the earth and the people around them.

        The real question is where will they go when the third world people wise up and demand more and stop the pollution?

        1. Sadly, i is not about “wise up” but about something worse…
          Local companies also pollutes the environment, so you have to choose, a foreign company that pollutes and pays a lot, or a local company that pollutes and pays so little.

          1. Rather defeatist view of the situation.

            A sad but true commentary on humans, all too willing to sell out for the bling. Earth, other species, and future generations be damned, I want mine and I want it now.

      2. If you think China is a third world country, you are stupider than we all thought.

        China could turn their First World equals, into Third World has beens, buy just calling in their loans.

  2. How much money is Microsoft, Samsung and Google spending in spreading false reports about GOSIPs???
    Supplies shortages? people angry with apple because justice was done in court?, students being “Forced”?

  3. Pretty amazing that in a country of 1.2 billion people they have to close universities and make college students assemble iPhones.

    But there’s a parts shortage, right? If that rumor is true, then why would Foxconn need emergency student workers to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week assembling iPhones for which they don’t have enough parts?

  4. This is where things can get tricky for Apple. The widely enthusiastic Apple consumers are for the most part people who have a string moral fabric and even without negative headlines they are suspect of Apple’s appetite to have their products manufactured in Communist China.

    If there are human rights abuses happening at Foxconn and it becomes apparent that Apple products are being made by humans who are treated like robots, Apple fans will not take it lightly. Apple needs Apple people on the ground in EVERY plant they commission work to. They can easily add this requirement to any RFP they put out and award.

    1. eh… PAT

      what consumer products are you using NOT manufactured in China? Microsoft, HP, Dell, Nintendo etc all build at Foxconn (not to mention practically all your clothing etc)

      even the Koreans and Japanese build a lot of stuff in China now.

      Samsung owns many factories in your Communist China and contracts with dozens of chinese suppliers.

      just recently Samsung was accussed of exploiting and abusing Chinese workers by Chinese Labor groups :

      you’ve been praising Samsung in previous posts so you seem a sanctimonious hypocrite when you criticize Apple because they BOTH build there.

      pat your posts are GENERALLY stupid but this one increases your stupiditiy ranking.

  5. Force internship. Hey, at least it’s not slave labor since they’re getting paid. I think it’s a good idea for the students to get a taste of the working life. I’m rather surprised that they’re having labor shortages in China with such a huge population. Maybe they need more skilled laborers, though.

    As usual, Apple is going to take a lot of negative publicity thanks to this article. The media loves to target Apple for supposed crimes to society. Apple has little to do with Foxconn’s hiring practices but it will be made to look like Tim Cook stormed into town and demanded students be pulled out of classes so Apple’s iPhone demand could be met. Jealousy is a biatch.

      1. American slaves still get paid: In food stamps, welfare (no need to work anymore, Obama dictated against the will of the people), and other “entitlements,” otherwise known as chains.

        Now, don’t forget to vote Democrat in 95% lockstep, you unwitting modern-day slaves.

        1. How many times do you need to hear a soundbite before you start parroting? Do facts even register in your world? Talk about dimwitted locksteping, welcome to yourself.

          Obama did no such thing, you are re-telling a lie. It makes you a fool. Rather than come back with weak ad-hominim attacks, I challenge you to produce a copy of said executive order, I got a clue for you, it doesn’t exist.

          You are a victim of pretzel logic.

          1. And just because I AM TRUTH, I’ll back up what I say:

            Forbes Op Ed piece 8/7/2012 titled: Romney Claims Obama Guts Welfare Work Requirements By Doing Precisely What Romney Requested in 2005!

            GO read it and educate your silly self. You will find the pretzel logic attack is disingenuous bs. You will find that the issue is bi-partisan and actually boils down to states rights, with the individual states deciding how best to manage their welfare systems and it does no such thing as remove work requirements it puts a process in place for states to be able to issue waivers to some requirements (work being one of them) you will also learn that two republican governors are requesting the ability to do just that.

            While I realize that Obama siding with states rights and local control flies in the face of your Socialist dictator talking point, no need to bald face lie.

            This country needs an aptitude test for the right to vote I think, all the technology in the world and people do not even know how to research an issue, they just believe what they are told to believe facts be damned. Welcome to the Truth….

        1. Not sure how much I believe the report, but if true, the government/military came in and forced the student population out of their regular classes, and basically drafted them into service of HonHai.

          The US ed system is nothing like that. The ‘forced internships’ you mistakenly try to equate with this report, are required by some classes or major programs, but you know about them well in advance, and have some say in what that internship will be, and the terms of how long it will last. The college Dean and poloce do not show up in world history one day ad abduct you to go labor in the factory.

  6. What I’m wondering is this – Google, Samsung, Amazon, Nokia, Motorola & few others all make smart phones, they all make tablets(maybe not Nokia) and make them with cheaper margins than Apple, where is all their stuff assembled? What are the working conditions in the factories that make all these cheaper products? Why is it that only Apple gets singled out concerning working conditions? I have hard time believing anyone is paid more or has it any better assembling anyone of Apple’s competitors gazillion smart phones or devices. Why no spot light on any of them? Just wondering?

  7. When I was a teacher in the 80s the schools in Hillsboro, Oregon closed several days early so the students would be available to pick strawberries that ripened earlier than expected. At the end of the school day an announcement came over the PA for the students to take all their stuff home and not come back as summer break begins now. Both students and teachers were stunned. Back then the town’s economy was very dependent on the strawberry crop.

    What’s this got to do with the story above. Nothing really.

    Sorry I mentioned it.

    1. Does anyone know why students get the summer off? In the long past, they were given the time to work the farm crops to feed and cloth the nation.

      Now a days, we have all been exposed to internships, or work exposure programs in the schools and all except it.

      Google Translate is a wonderful start but it leaves much to be desired when you translate an email to English. Could it be that the ‘hot button’ words used in this story are not intended?

    2. I am much older than you. When I was in grade school the boys and some of the girls, in grades 6, 7 & 8, disappeared in the spring for planting and in the fall for harvesting.

      It happened all over rural North America.

      P.S. They were paid in three squares a day, a bed and the odd pair of blue jeans.

  8. Dear Chinese Government….

    No, no, no… you’re only partially getting this whole capitalism thing right. People have to be free for it to work. You can’t force people to do things. You’re not California. Now I bet you could have lured in a large chunk of the city with the promise of a shiny new REAL iPhone and a couple grand a head.

  9. It could be there’s a whole translation factor here. China has in effect become highly capitalistic, which is largely responsible for their growth and economy. But to maintain the control over the people, extreme nationalism has effectively been swapped in rather than “communism.” It could be that the students feel honored to participate. We don’t know. They may see it as a duty or privilege. I read that news report and I react to that word “forced.” Bottom line is, we don’t know the truth and the truth may be very subtle.

    For all I know, when the news came to the village, there could have been cheering. The way the article is written, I picture jacbooted FOXCON thugs marching into a village and taking the poor children to work in the evil factories. Off in the corner somewhere is a cigarett smoking man with an Apple polo shirt on.

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