Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 21st Jul 2009 20:10 UTC, submitted by kaiwai
Hardware, Embedded Systems This is one sad story to report on. Sun Danyong, 25-year-old employee at Chinese manufacturing company Foxconn, has committed suicide after being subjected to apparently rather rigorous interrogation methods by Foxconn's Central Security Division. Danyong handled a shipment of 16 iPhone prototypes, and one of them went missing. Update: Apple responds: "We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."
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Comment by Stratoukos
by Stratoukos on Tue 21st Jul 2009 20:43 UTC
Stratoukos
Member since:
2009-02-11

"I actually own three motherboards by Foxconn - my media centre's, my main workstation's, and my PowerMac G4's motherboards are all made by them. They're all working fine, and I'm quite happy with them. Hypocrisy?"

Exactly my thoughts. I'm pretty sure people are going to bash apple for dealing with foxconn but the ultimate power lies with the consumer. Why don't you stop buying iPhones or iPods? And Xboxes and Playstations and Wiis and Intel motherboards and kindles? (you can visit wikipedia for a rather impressive list)

Point is that a company that big may seem a good thing at first since it means lower prices but what happens when you stop liking those guys?

Reply Score: 3

Disposable staff
by Liquidator on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 06:53 UTC in reply to "Comment by Stratoukos"
Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

True. And this is one more case of an employee being pressed like a lemon and thrown away. As we speak, Foxconn is probably doing interviews and this employee is being replaced by another disposable one. This is what happens in most large companies. I left one a few years ago, precisely because despite medication, I was going to commit suicide because of insane pressure. I wasn't able to withstand the climate. I wasn't the only one, almost everyone in the office were taking antidepressant, and everyday there were coworkers crying. Crazy world, really. Just because or greed.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Tue 21st Jul 2009 20:56 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

This is a very sad story unfortunately and hopefully it will not act as some sort of lightening rod to all the anti-Apple nutcases to come out of the woodworks, "Apple secrecy murders Foxconn employee" and other such Fox-like statements loaded with hyperbole.

Apple's secrecy as you said Thom also plays a part; and we've seen it occur time and time again, especially with the enthusiast sites. Rather than using it to their advantage by way of saying, "we maybe a niche in the computer market but the the enthusiasm for our products is huge by way of those who want to get the latest gossip on our developments". If there is information leaked they could capitalise on it and say, "well, we tried to keep it under wraps but you only keep such a great product from the public for so long...."; use the leaks as evidence of 'great enthusiasm' in the marketplace. Then again, I tend to have a laid back personality.

As for the bit at the end regarding hypocrisy - if we analysed almost every action done by every company I don't think we would own a thing if one were making purchasing decisions based on how moral/ethical a company is. Take my shoes for instance - should I feel guilty because there is a possibility that the glue used in the sole of the shoe could turn out to be carcinogenic? I don't feel any guilt about owning two Mac's and a iPod as a result because me not buying them isn't going to change a particular policy - all I can do is speak out about it and for pressure to be put on Apple. Apple have an image, and part of that isn't only being 'cool' but also doing things differently - and that includes having some ethics when conducting business.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by FreakyT on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 02:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
FreakyT Member since:
2005-07-17

Apple have an image, and part of that isn't only being 'cool' but also doing things differently - and that includes having some ethics when conducting business.


Ha, that's a good one.

(I'm not trying to dis Apple necessarily, really I'm just pointing out that, in general, large companies don't really do much in the way of ethical practices--you just can't maintain today's low price points without such behavior.)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 03:02 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kaiwai"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Ha, that's a good one.

(I'm not trying to dis Apple necessarily, really I'm just pointing out that, in general, large companies don't really do much in the way of ethical practices--you just can't maintain today's low price points without such behavior.)


Perception is reality, perception is a marketing edge - even if it is only the perception by the public the public believe that Apple aren't like 'those other businesses'. Apple has to maintain it - even if it involves a token gesture like offering compensation to the victims family for the pain of what has happened. Yes it is cynical, but maintaining a good image is part of marketing a brand.

Reply Score: 2

work ethic
by stabbyjones on Tue 21st Jul 2009 22:35 UTC
stabbyjones
Member since:
2008-04-15

It's mad to think that he felt he could leave his job without consequence.

They really do work them to death over there in these factories, not that anything will change in the long run, people like cheap stuff (myself included).

I've bought Sony Ericsson phones for years and i'm sure i've bought a few leadtek products in the past but is switching to other brands really going to affect anything?

I'm still going to be buying phones and hardware from asia where it's not exactly the best as far as pay and conditions go.

Reply Score: 2

I agree Thom
by postdiction on Tue 21st Jul 2009 23:11 UTC
postdiction
Member since:
2009-07-08

This is ridiculous, and BOTH Apple and Foxconn should be blamed for these types of techniques.

Its freaking electronics, and they go so far as driver a person to commit suicide.

I hope Apple and Foxconn both get a lot of heat for this and thank-you for bringing this to our attention.

Reply Score: 3

v oh come on
by helf on Tue 21st Jul 2009 23:15 UTC
RE: oh come on
by TechGeek on Tue 21st Jul 2009 23:37 UTC in reply to "oh come on"
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

Well, its obvious you've never been oppressed. They probably didn't just work him over. They probably threatened him, his wife, his siblings, his parents. Considering the punishment, he may very well have thought that death was far easier than living with the knowledge that his entire family suffered because of his mistake.

Its easy to think that there is nothing anyone could do to you that would make you commit suicide. But what wouldn't some of us do to protect family? Its a whole other story when they put the pressure on someone else.

Reply Score: 4

RE: oh come on
by DrillSgt on Tue 21st Jul 2009 23:41 UTC in reply to "oh come on"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

I don't care how "rigorous" the questioning was, there is no way in hell it would have been bad enough for someone with a sound mind to commit suicide. That is just pathetic. Call me callus, if you will, but damn. That is pathetic.


I am guessing, being an Asian country, they attacked his "Honor", and told him he had none left. Most likely even brought up that he had brought disgrace on his family. That alone in the Asian world is enough to cause someone to commit suicide. Of course things may have changed since I was last in that part of Asia, however I doubt it since those beliefs and ideals go back many centuries, before the Ming dynasty.

Reply Score: 5

RE: oh come on
by bousozoku on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 02:13 UTC in reply to "oh come on"
bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

I don't care how "rigorous" the questioning was, there is no way in hell it would have been bad enough for someone with a sound mind to commit suicide. That is just pathetic. Call me callus, if you will, but damn. That is pathetic.


How western hemisphere of you!

He might not even have been questioned rigourously. He may have felt that his family honour was shamed and committed suicide on his own. You can be of sound mind and do it for the sake of your family. It's still sad, but honourable.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: oh come on
by Soulbender on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 04:38 UTC in reply to "RE: oh come on"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

He may have felt that his family honour was shamed and committed suicide on his own.


Right, because that is really a sound way of reasoning.

You can be of sound mind and do it for the sake of your family. It's still sad, but honourable.


If you kill yourself "for the sake of your family" for being suspected of theft you're not of a sound mind and there's nothing honorable about it.
Just because it's a different culture doesn't mean it's right.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: oh come on
by orfanum on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 05:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: oh come on"
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

We are none of us qualified to pass judgement on this young person in the sense that we do not know enough of the facts yet, and we did not know him, so cannot possibly discern motives.

I would not claim suicide is 'right' but in the context of his culture it may well be entirely understandable why this course of action was followed, or why it was an option in his psychology.

I agree with your implicit point that naturally, any one of us would have tried to dissuade him from self harm, but this is not the place I think to try to undermine a different culture, or appear simply callous.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: oh come on
by Soulbender on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 12:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: oh come on"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

We are none of us qualified to pass judgement on this young person in the sense that we do not know enough of the facts yet, and we did not know him, so cannot possibly discern motives.


And so we can not also say that Foxconn, bastards as they may be, drove him to suicide or that it even had anything to do with the missing prototype. For all we know he could have been unstable already for entirely different reasons.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: oh come on
by orfanum on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 15:54 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: oh come on"
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

I am not quite sure what you are saying here - I am only myself saying it's probably better to reserve judgement, regarding both sides.

What you did do though was take a pretty cheap shot at someone else's culture in a case of an individual's suicide.

It's not a gentlemanly thing to do, is all.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: oh come on
by bousozoku on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 06:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: oh come on"
bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23

"He may have felt that his family honour was shamed and committed suicide on his own.


Right, because that is really a sound way of reasoning.

You can be of sound mind and do it for the sake of your family. It's still sad, but honourable.


If you kill yourself "for the sake of your family" for being suspected of theft you're not of a sound mind and there's nothing honorable about it.
Just because it's a different culture doesn't mean it's right.
"

My family has been samurai for centuries. I believe in family honour.

There is honour in suicide to absolve your family and just because you don't understand it doesn't make it wrong.

If he committed suicide just because he was afraid, that's a different story.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: oh come on
by Soulbender on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 12:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: oh come on"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I believe in family honour.


So do I but I don't believe there's anything honorable about suicide.

There is honour in suicide to absolve your family


Sorry, even though I have lived in Asia for a long time I just can't agree with that sentiment. However, this doesn't have much to do with the current topic (if he had shamed his family it really had nothing to do with what Foxconn did or did not do) and we probably shouldn't get into this discussion on osnews, that way lies madness.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: oh come on
by Macrat on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 21:13 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: oh come on"
Macrat Member since:
2006-03-27

So do I but I don't believe there's anything honorable about suicide.


It's very honorable and responsible to pass at your own choosing.

It's not your place to force your taboo on everyone else

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: oh come on
by helf on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 13:53 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: oh come on"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

really? Seems like a waste of a human life.

I know all about honor suicides and what not, But I still think its ridiculous.

Reply Score: 2

RE: oh come on
by JonathanBThompson on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 16:49 UTC in reply to "oh come on"
JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

Darwin at its finest!

Seriously, if you can't deal with failure of something that's not so vitally important, it's probably better for the species for you to exit the gene pool voluntarily before you contaminate it too much, because you won't be able to deal with more important things that really matter for survival.

Reply Score: 2

Well that scratches Foxconn of my list...
by madcrow on Tue 21st Jul 2009 23:20 UTC
madcrow
Member since:
2006-03-13

.. of companies to consider getting a new motherboard from. Any company that has torturers on staff for "internal security investigations" is fundamentally evil and must be boycotted.

Reply Score: 2

thjayo Member since:
2005-11-11

Check out the Wikipedia page on Foxconn. Seems like it is not the first evil doing from Foxconn.

Then again, what can I say... All I wear is Adidas, and look at their sweatshops. It is a problem that is greater than us as individuals.

Reply Score: 1

cato_minor Member since:
2006-02-13

It is a problem that is greater than us as individuals


No, it's a problem only created by the sum of us individuals. An individual can break out of all this - not by dumping one company and going to the next one which is just as bad, but by getting the whole picture, maybe relying on "whitelists" of (more) ethical companies, controlled by independent organisations. You can shop organic and small-scale if you have learnt too much about the food industry, and maybe you are quite happy with *older* technology, bought second-hand (with the right software it might run faster than the new gadgets of others...). There is no pure white, but that shouldn't stop you from trying.

The big problem is that those who care are considered to be lunatics. Even in this article, Apple is blamed for doing business with Foxconn yet customers trying therefore to avoid Foxconn are called "holier-than-thou"...

Reply Score: 1

...
by Tuishimi on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 00:58 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

Who the hell really knows what drives one to suicide. I had one of my best friends, who was brilliant, funny, super talented, bordering on, if not genius, loved by all but his ex-wife... and he just killed himself, no explanation really.

Reply Score: 4

Not going to blame apple
by rockmen1 on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 03:09 UTC
rockmen1
Member since:
2006-02-04

Foxconn is a well known sweatshop in China. Extreme work load, low salary, insane regulations.
If this did not happen for apple, it will definitely happen for another OEM.
Yet it provides large amount of tax for local gov, it will not be enforced to improve working env.

Edited 2009-07-22 03:13 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Sorry
by 3rdalbum on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 03:30 UTC
3rdalbum
Member since:
2008-05-26

Hearing this, and hearing what rockmen1 had to say about Foxconn, it makes me feel bad for having a Foxconn motherboard in my server.

Reply Score: 2

reality check
by unclefester on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 03:33 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

Apple buyers think their PCs are hand carved from pure Unobtanium by elves in the Black Forest. The fact is they are cheap mass produced generic PCs in fancy cases.

Reply Score: 3

RE: reality check
by AlexandreAM on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 04:51 UTC in reply to "reality check "
AlexandreAM Member since:
2006-02-06

I really wouldn't comment on this thread, considering I don't own anything Apple and the very few I've tried were not exactly as pleasant as I thought (they look great on screenshots, though), don't own anything Foxconn and do not know much about either companies or "sweatshops" in asia to bring anything new to the topic.

But really, is THIS what you think of a constructive comment to a thread touching the death of a person? Really?

Can this zealotry of "Mine is bigger than yours" get at least a little bit of common sense and stop showing in threads that are not concerning technical differences, where they feel justified to appear just because the name of a company is mentioned?

Here is my reality check for you, sir: Your behaviour in this matter was, in my very personal opinion, disgusting.

Just to notice one last thing: Considering I base my reply on personal feelings, I refrained from modding you down before posting, but I truly believe you're way off topic, and simply trolling. I just wish there could be a mod-down option as "Simply outright outrageous".

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: reality check
by unclefester on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 10:57 UTC in reply to "RE: reality check "
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

What is wrong with pointing out the hypocrisy of Apple? They portray themselves and green and ethical but they are just as ruthless, money hungry and amoral as any other big corporation.

Reply Score: 5

Comment by Thom_Holwerda
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 07:12 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Some seriously despicable comments in here.

We in the West haven't learned anything, have we? Comments here echo that centuries-old misconception that we the West are somehow inherently better than the rest of the world. We in the West simply cannot understand that there are cultures in the world where *shock gasp horror* things are done differently than here, where they have different beliefs and values.

"Wenn getanzt wird, will ich führen,
auch wenn ihr euch alleine dreht,
lasst euch ein wenig kontrollieren,
Ich zeige euch wie's richtig geht.

Ich kenne Schritte, die sehr nützen,
und werde euch vor Fehltritt schützen,
und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss,
weiß noch nicht, dass er tanzen muss!"

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Thom_Holwerda
by mieses on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 07:36 UTC in reply to "Comment by Thom_Holwerda"
mieses Member since:
2006-02-07

a civilized person should still show respect for cultures that do not value human life and liberty.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Thom_Holwerda
by Soulbender on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 13:28 UTC in reply to "Comment by Thom_Holwerda"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

We in the West haven't learned anything, have we?


We've learned to accept other cultures unquestionably, apparently...

We in the West simply cannot understand that there are cultures in the world where *shock gasp horror* things are done differently than here, where they have different beliefs and values.


I guess we should just accept female circumcision, oppression of women and other horrible "beliefs and values" because, hey, it's a different culture. I'm not saying the West is better (we're a bunch of assholes too and wrong about a lot of things) but this whole unquestionable acceptance of values and beliefs just because they're from other, non-Western cultures is nonsense.
I'm living quite happily in a non-Western culture but that doesn't mean I have to accept every damn value or belief they have.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Thom_Holwerda
by orfanum on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 16:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Thom_Holwerda"
orfanum Member since:
2006-06-02

We are getting a bit off topic here but I'd say there's a difference between, 'right', 'acceptable', 'understandable' and 'inconceivable'. You may be 'right' to say that this event is not 'understandable' by you but you'd probably be less correct to say that, if this person did commit suicide as the result of the actions of his employer, it is something that is 'inconceivable'.

I find it interesting that you say we seem to have become supine in the face of other cultures, by which you presumably mean we who still live in the geographical West, yet you brazenly assert the right not to respect the customs and laws of those around you. Aren't you rather acting a little like those you appear to condemn - or will you square this circle by encouraging those Asians around you to stand up to your browbeating? Let me know how it goes...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Thom_Holwerda
by helf on Thu 23rd Jul 2009 14:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Thom_Holwerda"
helf Member since:
2005-07-06

Stop putting words in his mouth to try and prove a point. He didn't say Customs and Laws. He said, and I quote, "...value or belief they have". Which are far different from "Laws".

Reply Score: 2

welcome to the real world
by maaxx on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 08:16 UTC
maaxx
Member since:
2007-11-06

"This is what happens when financial gain and profit are valued more than humans."

Welcome to the real world!

Reply Score: 1

Suicide method?
by ozonehole on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 08:23 UTC
ozonehole
Member since:
2006-01-07

Nothing said about how he killed himself. Knowing how China's Public Security Bureau operates: perhaps by shooting himself in the back of head, twice.

Edited 2009-07-22 08:25 UTC

Reply Score: 0

"Dignity and respect"
by Johann Chua on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 10:47 UTC
Johann Chua
Member since:
2005-07-22

Like how Steve Jobs treats his employees?

Reply Score: 2

Caritas in Veritate
by red_devel on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 11:19 UTC
red_devel
Member since:
2006-03-30

"This is what happens when financial gain and profit are valued more than humans. Sure, you can adopt an holier-than-thou attitude and shun products from Foxconn, but the fact of the mater is that Foxconn is just one of many. In our search for ever cheaper products, for an ever cheaper labour force, we are apparently willing to accept the fact that our products are built in conditions like we see at Foxconn."

Thom, did you recently become Catholic? =P That idea is almost the exact message of Pope Benedict's most recent encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth). The sad truth is, this is how the current system is set up: cheaper and better no matter the price. Until we, as a society, get to a point where we value respect of human life above all else, it will only get worse. Unfortunately, we're currently running 100 miles an hour in the wrong direction, accelerating all the while.

Reply Score: 2

Apple's REAL Response...
by yamzinspace on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 13:02 UTC
yamzinspace
Member since:
2009-07-22

"We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death by our Shaolin Gung Fu Death Squad. We require our suppliers at Lo Pan International Trading to treat all workers with dignity and respect...until they lose one of our iPhone prototypes."

Reply Score: 2

That's the Game...
by juvenile4909 on Wed 22nd Jul 2009 13:25 UTC
juvenile4909
Member since:
2007-08-04

All over a prototype? Damn! I wonder if they found it. More casualties

Reply Score: 2