Behind the shiny screen

Behind the shiny screen

Summary: Are we consuming technology products without thinking about what happens to the people who manufacture them?


Behind the shiny screen

On 6 May 2010, Foxconn quality control worker Lu Xin jumped from the sixth floor of an apartment complex in the technology manufacturer's campus in Shenzhen, China.


Lu had moved to Shenzhen to work for Foxconn so he could support his family in rural China. He worked hard to send back thousands of yuan back home.

His job was to enforce quality standards of products on the assembly line, but within months he was struggling to cope with the intense demands of the job which kept him at work until 9pm on most days.

He blogged about his feelings in October 2009.

"I came to this company for money. [But then I realised], this is a waste of my life and my future. In the first step of my adult life, I took the wrong path. I'm lost," he wrote.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, China

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  • Having worked in China, most of the employees of the companies I was working with are happy if not interested in working overtime. There is a strong sense of responsibility and their wages are not too high, so the extra money makes a difference. Additionally often there are long travel times as the employees must catch company buses or other PT, as they cannot afford cars.

    The Chinese Govt actually has guidelines about the maximum overtime that can be worked each month - but as far as I can see it is ignored by most companies (36 hours per month). I think it only exists so the govt can screw companies over if they wish.

    Workers who I spoke to, albeit in a different but similar manufacturing industry, were all quite happy about their conditions.
  • I have been commenting about related topics for the past year now. I saw a documentry about Uganda, about mobile phone manufacturing - there is a rare mineral they use in the manufacture that makes the phone vibrate. Uganda has a terrible rape stastic, which mostly is perpertrated by military and police. The population of Uganda mostly followes a shari type law. The mining industry in Uganda is unregulated. My family have a relief organisation that have worked in this country and continue not just there but in a number of impoverished countries - go have a look a some of the projects they are involved with,