That iPhone Worker Suicide Story

By  |  Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Apple has confirmed that an employee of its Chinese manufacturing partner Foxconn committed suicide last week. Various online reports say that the staffer, Sun Danyong, was responsible for iPhone prototypes and took his own life after one disappeared. And some stories are saying that Foxconn’s security department may have harshly interrogated or beaten him.

It’s hard to know what to make of this without definitive facts on what happened–the fact that it happened so far away, and that some of the coverage is in another language, doesn’t help clarify things. One story quotes a Foxconn spokesperson as saying “regardless of the reason of Sun’s suicide, it is to some extent a reflection of Foxconn’s internal management deficiencies.” That’s either a misquote or an example of amazing honesty that you’d never hear from an American PR person. But Daring Fireball’s John Gruber is right: Apple needs to find out what happened, and needs to be prepared to fire Foxconn if it’s enforcing Apple-related security by assaulting its own employees.


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4 Comments For This Post

  1. David Worthington Says:

    I hate to be a cynic, but my eyebrows went up when I first heard this story. Human rights violations cannot be condoned (if that is the case).

  2. Vox Says:

    The one thing that I’ve noticed on every blog out there talking about this story, is that it seems to be Apple’s fault in some way…at minimum, for doing business with a company that has the kind of “managerial deficiencies” that lead to this.

    What nobody seems to realize is that Foxconn builds stuff for a hell of a lot more companies, including bigger companies than Apple, like Dell and Nokia, so…why isn’t anybody telling them to investigate too?

    I guess it’s just because it’s fun to poke the cool kids on the block, uh?

  3. Kayza Kleinman Says:

    I’m not so sure that Foxconn is being so honest. It’s a good bet that this is an attempt to spin this away from the criminal investigation that is going on.

    So, this company makes stuff for other companies, but it’s an Apple product that happens to be involved. Remember, Apple is known to be fanatic about keeping things secret. Which leads to the not unreasonable assumption that at least part of the reason for the company’s mistakes here were a result of their concern over Apple’s response. Now, I don’t know if that is actually what happened, and I doubt we will until the investigtion is done (if even then), but it certainly is not an outlandish idea.

  4. Tom Says:

    commence operation “sweep it under the rug”.