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Violent protests erupt at iPhone factory in China

In China, massive protests have been reported at world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou province, according to images and videos widely circulating online, showing they have been beaten and detained in protests. According to media reports the protest started Tuesday night over unpaid wages and contract disputes and fears of spreading COVID infections. Widely reported by media, videos on Wednesday showed hundreds of workers marched on road defying COVID protocols, with some being apprehended by police and people in hazmat suits. Zhengzhou iPhone plant run by Taiwan based Foxconn is the world’s largest iPhone factory dubbed as iPhone city with some 200,000 workers. Last month, massive exodus of Foxconn workers was seen at this plant as they complained about inadequate anti-virus protection and a lack of food and medical help for coworkers. Thousands of workers fled on foot to avoid COVID curbs as Foxconn was using “closed-loop management,” inside the factory effectively locking down employees there with no outside contact.
Such massive disruptions have hit the Apple’s critical supply chain in China which warned that deliveries of its new iPhone 14 model would be delayed due to anti-disease controls imposed on the Zhengzhou factory. The city government suspended access to an industrial zone that surrounds the factory. Foxconn and the local government had promised high wages and better working conditions to attract new workers to the factory. But Wednesday’s protests again reflected a build-up of tensions since the lockdown began in October. Experts opine, the situation at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou iPhone plant is another reminder of the dangers for Apple of relying on a vast production center in China at a time of unpredictable policy direction. The rare scenes of open dissent in China mark an escalation of unrest at the massive factory in Zhengzhou city that has come to symbolize a dangerous build-up in frustration with the country's ultra-harsh COVID-19 rules, as well as inept handling of the situation by the world's largest contract manufacturer.The trigger for the protests, which began early on Wednesday, appeared to be a plan to delay bonus payments, many of the demonstrators said on livestream feeds.

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