Foxconn Creeps the Fuck Outta Me

The news of Foxconn International Holdings’ various employee suicides are well-known already. It’s pretty old, even. It’s one of the most embarrassing events to China, regarding their economic ascension – but it’s just embarrassing to them. And, presumably, just embarrassing to the companies that they ship their products to.

Quite frankly, they make me shudder in disgust. But that may just be because I still have a few tattered remnants of a soul left in me – such obsolete sentiments like “justice,” “fairness,” and the long-since outdated “morality.” Things like harassing your visitors make me shudder – outright employee abuse makes me want to take a quick flight to China, talk to a friendly Triad type, and maybe gun down a few policy-setting executives. It’s one of those few actions where you know you’ll make the world a slightly better place.

As it is, I can at least boycott products and companies that utilize Foxconn-made components. Unfortunately, that’s quite a few of them – but I can at least try. I don’t have a complete list, but I know of the big ones, at least. If anybody out there knows where I can get a fuller list, if only to know the horrific extent of their tendrils of influence, I’d be grateful.

The companies in question are:

  • Apple, Inc (famously)
  • Cisco
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Nintendo
  • Nokia
  • Microsoft
  • Sony Ericsson

Yeah, you see how this might be a rather difficult boycott to do? Especially in Silicon Valley? But, dammit, Foxconn creeps me the fuck out.

I have a few acquaintances living in China right now. Here’s some anecdote from the East:

Expat: …although yesterday on the way to the (already incredibly creepy) Foxxconn plant, I saw the toll booth guards tear six people out of a Toyota Corolla and start beating the shit out of them. In the toll lane. On a six lane highway. In broad daylight.

Expat: Flextronics is apparently not in the habit of stripping visitors of all forms of identification and consumer electronics, and also not in the habit of searching cars and persons whenever they enter “Foxxconn Kingdom”, a building, a floor, or a particular office, and also not in the habit of waving guns in your face if you have an iPad in hand that’s clearly of some age without paperwork explicitly allowing you to take your own goddamn property off the plant presumably signed by God himself.

Expat: And also not in the habit of building a million-inhabitant company town of completely identical low flat Social Realist buildings, or specifically denying suicides that may or may not have occured there.

Expat: Have I mentioned this is how they treat visitors.

Expat: I cannot imagine what kind of living hell it is for their employees.

Expat: Or, speaking properly, serfs.

Expat: As I said at the time. “I’ve faced down PSB guys and bluffed my way out without a passport. I’ve crossed the Laotian, Thai, Hong Kong and Canadian borders. I’ve flown through American airports. Foxxconn is worse than all of those.”

Expat: I’ve mentioned that Shenzhen reminds me of a cyberpunk city, like LA in Blade Runner or Chiba in Neuromancer. Visiting the Foxxconn plant made me feel glad to be home.

Expat: So, yeah. Sorry for going off on Foxxconn there.

Expat: They fucking deserve it and scare the crap out of me.

Expat: As near as I can tell, they are literally a cyberpunk-style cradle-to-grave zaibatsu.


I’ll grant you that this is all anecdotal. But the expatriate mentioned has no real reason to lie to me about Foxconn’s… unpleasantries, let’s call it. And isn’t invested in Flextronic himself (if he can even afford to invest in anything other than a plane ticket home right now). How much of what’s implied in his statement is anybody’s guess.

But amongst this thick haze of innuendo and dark whispers, you really have to ask yourself: do we really want to do business with these people?

Is it really necessary?



~ by Gonzo Mehum on November 24, 2010.

2 Responses to “Foxconn Creeps the Fuck Outta Me”

  1. No, it’s not really necessary, but in the quest for lower costs to businesses, they become preferred because of the way they treat their workers. I’d lay good money that someone who tried to organize them would be found face-down in the nearby river a few days afterward.

    It’s the quest for more profits that makes the morals subject to the bottom line. Thsoe who attempt to enforce their morals will be put out of business by those who don’t.

  2. ^lol, spam has arrived.

    Yeah, Foxconn sucks. That’s one of the reasons I don’t buy any of the listed company’s products. I have a 3-year old nokia and that’s the last thing which I ever bought from one of those listed companies that use foxconn in their supply chain.

    I guess if you want anything to change, don’t buy stuff from those companies and organise boycotts. Not that it would change the fact that they use foxconn, but at least it would make those companies feel some pinch.

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