Worker Death Tally Rises at Foxconn China

Another worker has committed suicide at factory dormitory in Guangdong, China.

ByABC News
July 21, 2010, 3:22 AM

BEIJING, July 21, 2010— -- An 18-year-old intern at Chimei Innolux Corp, an affiliate of Foxconn Technology Group, fell to his death from the sixth floor of a company dormitory in Guangdong Province, China, on Tuesday morning.

The incident happened after a string of worker suicides hit Foxconn's Chinese factories. This year, a total of 10 Foxconn workers died after jumping from company buildings. The last suicide occurred in May.

In a statement released late Tuesday, Chimei Innolux Corp. said the intern, a native of Hebei Province surnamed Liu, started working at the factory July 2 but suddenly stopped coming to work after July 5. The company annulled his contract two days later and told the worker to prepare to go back to his hometown.

According to the Xinhua news agency, the local government and police confirmed the death, which is still under investigation.

Hong Kong's Mingbao Newspaper reported that Chimei currently has 700 workers in its Guangdong factory. It had raised worker wages after the series of Foxconn suicide incidents in May. However, an increase in working hours, from eight to 10 hours a day, accompanied the wage increase.

"The factory has everything, but it has no entertainment," one Chimei employee told Mingbao Newspaper.

Labor activists have blamed Foxconn's military-style management system and tough working conditions for contributing to worker suicides. Experts have also pointed to the deaths as an example of a larger social problem for China. In June, a group of Chinese sociologists released an open letter in response to the Foxconn suicides, writing that the country should move on from a cheap-labor development model that sacrifices workers' "basic human dignity."