Worker’s catastrophic brain injury casts harsh new light on Foxconn and China

“Apple Inc’s largest contract manufacturer has been pushing for a Chinese worker left brain-damaged in a factory accident to be removed from hospital in a case that throws a harsh new spotlight on labor rights in China,” Tan Ee Lyn reports for Reuters.

“Zhang Tingzhen, 26, an employee of Taiwan firm Foxconn, had nearly half his brain surgically removed after surviving an electric shock at a plant in southern China a year ago,” Tan Ee Lyn reports. “He remains in hospital under close observation by doctors, unable to speak or walk properly.”

Tan Ee Lyn reports, “However, Foxconn, which is paying Zhang’s hospital bills, has been sending telephone text messages to his family since July, demanding they remove him from hospital and threatening to cut off funding for his treatment – a move the firm says would be justified under Chinese labor law.”

“Zhang is actually one of the lucky ones, social workers say, pointing out that Foxconn has at least been paying his hospital bills and the living expenses of his family, which has moved to Shenzhen from central China to be with him,” Tan Ee Lyn reports. “Foxconn says it is insured against workplace accidents, which means its insurer would meet the cost of a compensation payment once Zhang’s disability is finally assessed. But compensation in China can vary depending on the city in which a worker’s disability is assessed – and this, according to Zhang’s family, is why Foxconn wants him to travel to Huizhou and refuses to have him assessed in Shenzhen.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. It’s called a hemispherectomy. A radical treatment to be sure, but you should read “Gifted Hands,” an awesome book about an even more awesome man. Ben Carson was a troubled youth who turned his life around and was blessed with the gift to “see” children’s brain defects before he actually performed the surgery. The book really is a great read.

      This procedure was sometimes done to correct seizures that would not stop. If performed before a child gets too old, the brain will adjust and will function almost completely normal.

    1. … work Bain Capital sent to China in order to shave a few dollars from the payrolls so they could be added to the Bain Bonuses. Officers ONLY, please.
      So, thanks for turning a conversation from “that poor worker” to “that hated politician”. And for using a lie to do it. Just like Mitt! No … NOT a compliment.

  1. I don’t know man, but maybe these things should carry a “moral” warning; warning this device was probably made by human slaves or someone probably died in making this device. These are the kind of working conditions that American workers once endured during the early part of the 20th century.

    1. The article did not say he was working on an iPhone production line. I would say more like a Dell line.

      Hey Dude… if you got half a brain, you should buy a Dell…

      Just saying. 🙂

      1. I also didn’t say iPhone since most electronic devices are made in China. I thought Foxconn mostly made Apple products since it is Apple’s largest manufacture. This is not about any manufacture rather the working conditions that some of the poorest people on earth endure to supply things to some of the wealthiest. Humor doesn’t become you.

        1. Africa called, they would like their poorest status restored.

          Poorest Countries in the World

          Country GDP per capita
          Congo, Democratic Republic of the
          Central African Republic

    2. I don’t want my electricity coming from the Hoover Dam, because it was immorally built on the lives of it’s workers lost. How dare they design and build such a structurer so dangerous to valuable human lives that not only did they loose one, they lost many, plunging to their deaths.

      Dude, you can die, stepping off a curb. You can die emptying the trash under your desk. You could die taking a crap on the office toilet.

      People die or get injured anywhere and everywhere, for stupid reasons, no matter how careful we all are.

      You are completely wrong that “These are the kind of working conditions that American workers once endured during the early part of the 20th center”

      We still have factory work, assembly line work, steal mill work. No, not as abundant as before, but it exists.

      However in the early part of the 20th century, we had children and women working in dimly lit, dirty, dusty, deafening, hot, stinky, monotonous factories for pennies an hour.

      There is no comparison from that, to what Chinese laborers experience today. Chinese laborer pay is not comparable to modern US, but they have a different scale of economy. Likewise the scale of economy of early 20th century US workers is different than today, so we would have to make adjustments to get a proper perspective.

      Anyway, I just wanted to point out that you are speaking out of your ass and not making an important contribution.

      Bottom line, all societies, all labor conditions can use some improvement. But at some point you run into the law of diminishing returns on process design and effort. At some point, you settle.

      1. Tell yourself whatever you like to feel better about it, but it is true.

        While the Apple factory may not resemble your description, plenty of stuff at WalMart is made BY women and children in the very conditions you describe and worse.

        The fact is that our demand for ‘cheap’ goods and insatiable appetite for toys does in fact come on the backs of other peoples.

        Put your head in the sand and pretend all you want, it is still TRUTH and you cannot change that.

    3. bjr001 is spot on! I did some research and found some data from 2005. There were 393 workers *killed* on the job. This is simply outrageous. I know factory work is dangerous, but come on. Spend some of that dough on safety!

      Oh yeah, before I forget. That was in the U.S.

  2. There are two issues, related to this:

    1) quality of Foxconn’s safety measures,

    2) basically inevitable trauma/fatality rate in manufacturing. Even in the best places in the world like USA people get traumas and die at the factories.

    Which factor took place in this horrible case?

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