China: Workers fought with armed police in Foxconn riot
By Liu Jiayi
Smashing windows and rolling over police SUVs, over 2,000 angry workers turned Foxconn’s Taiyuan factory into a midnight battlefield earlier this week, according to a local newspaper’s report.
Infuriated by rumors the company’s security forces had beat up a worker from Shandong province in the evening of Sep. 23, hundreds of workers from Shandong and Henan quickly got the upper hand against the company’s 200-men security shift.
“A captain named Li called back off-duty security personnel who live nearby to come and help control the situation,” said a security officer with the company. “Everything got out of hand when some one thousand workers finished their shift and joined the riot around midnight.”
The angry crowd then turned on the armed police which arrived after 3a.m. that night. They destroyed items in the factory smashed vehicles and windows of the factory’s supermarket, and confronted policemen who were armed with shields and batons.
After the police finally contained the riot, over 40 were hospitalized and three of them were in critical condition. According to some unverified reports and Weibo accounts of Foxconn’s employees, 10 people were killed during the incident but no information on the identities of the victims were available at the moment.
Foxconn currently has the situation under control but was forced to close the factory on Monday, according to the company’s spokesperson Louis Woo.
Relationships between the company’s security forces and workers had always been strained. An employee who went under the alias “Hong” said many workers hated the security staff.
“I used to unbutton the upper button on the uniform when I walked out the workshop, and the security scolded me with very offensive language,” said Hong. “But when I told my roommates, they laughed at me and said that was nothing but routine here.”