Protests at China’s largest iPhone factory

Large protests erupted at the world’s largest iPhone manufacturing plant in China on Wednesday, owned by Taiwanese subcontractor Foxconn, according to videos and photos posted on social media Weibo and Twitter. Footage notably shows a crowd of daytime workers marching down a street, some facing a row of people in white full body suits and riot police. The factory is located in Zhengzhou, central Henan province.

An extract from a video broadcast live shows, at night, dozens of workers shouting “Let’s defend our rights!” in front of rows of police and a police vehicle with flashing lights. In other footage, a worker is seen placing a metal barrier on the ground, while the author of the video shouts “they’re charging!” and “tear gas bombs!”. A photo taken during the day shows the charred remains of a portal, apparently burned during the night.

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More than 200,000 employees

The hashtag #RiotsFoxconn appeared to be censored midday Wednesday on Chinese social media. A few posts referring to the protests, however, remained online. Foxconn is a large group that assembles electronic products for many international brands. The Taiwanese company, Apple’s main subcontractor, has faced an increase in Covid-19 cases in recent months at its huge site in Zhengzhou, the largest iPhone factory in the world. The complex employs more than 200,000 people, generally housed on site.

Foxconn had decided to confine the site with the workers inside. But hundreds of panicked workers then fled on foot. The Taiwanese group is the largest private sector employer in China, with more than a million employees across the country in around 30 factories and research institutes. Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.

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