CNN paid a visit to Foxconn, the Chinese factory complex where 10 workers jumped to their deaths this year.
What did they find? A super-concentrated complex in Shenzen where sleeping quarters, restaurants, hospitals, supermarkets and swimming pools are packed into 2.3 square kilometers (about 0.9 square miles).
It’s a factory town, they report, that feels more like a “heavily secure” university campus.
“They wake up, they have breakfast, they go to work, they work solid shift, they come back to their dormitories and they sleep … it’s a very dehumanizing place, and the workers are little more than machines there,” said Geoffrey Crothall of the China Labor Bulletin, a non-profit group that tries to protect workers’ rights across China.
Some 300,000 people who live and work here put together electronics Apple’s iPad and iPhone, to Dell computers, and products for Hewlett Packard and Sony.
The investigation doesn’t offer insight about the deaths, struggling with the statistics — widely reported and lampooned — that make 10 suicides at Foxconn lower than China’s national average or alarming for their occurrence in one factory complex.
Apple didn’t comment directly, pointing reporters to the statement on their website: “We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.” The other tech giants whose products are assembled here issued similar statements.
Recent amenities to the complex meant to help workers blow off steam include a counseling center and a stress room where workers can take out frustration on mannequins with bats, complete with how-to cartoons.