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Foxconn's Other Dirty Secret: the World's Largest "Internship" Program 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the apprentice-slave dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "In light of a series of reports that have emerged over the years, one of many dark stories of suicide now points at one of the lesser-known but more unsavory aspects of Foxconn's much-criticized labor practices: with the help of schools and government officials, the company runs a massive internship program built not on voluntary education but on 'compelled' factory work for teenage students. According to Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation."
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Foxconn's Other Dirty Secret: the World's Largest "Internship" Program

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  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:32PM (#39048475) Homepage Journal

    One day you might get paid!

  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki.cox@net> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:35PM (#39048525)

    It's so shiny and Apple claims it really, really cool.

    You mean nokia, HTC, moto, sony, samsung, et al aren't Foxconn's customers?

  • Re:Import tariffs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:41PM (#39048623)
    Wont happen, too much money from corporations being used to loby against it. China on the other hand has massive import tariffs for US goods. So companies more or less have to make stuff over there if they want to see in China.
  • by Pope (17780) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:41PM (#39048629)

    Plenty of things are made in the USA and Canada these days. Microelectronic gizmos, not so much,

  • by jdavidb (449077) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:44PM (#39048667) Homepage Journal

    It's better than starving on a farm. It's really quite sad. Too bad NOTHING is made in the USA / Canada anymore.

    Right. Then they could all starve on farms.

  • by sethstorm (512897) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:45PM (#39048689) Homepage

    "In light of a series of reports that have emerged over the years, one of many dark stories of suicide now points at one of the lesser-known but more unsavory aspects of Foxconn's much-criticized labor practices: with the help of schools and government officials, the company runs a massive internship program built not on voluntary education but on 'compelled' factory work for teenage students. According to Ross Perlin, author of Intern Nation

    Which is also called slavery.

    This is yet another reason why we shouldnt be manufacturing in hellholes that will bend over backwards for business, but snap the backs of the people that work for them (should they ask for more than the company approved allotment of freedom).

    Perhaps US & EU manufacturing isn't a bad idea after all.

  • by Riceballsan (816702) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:46PM (#39048711)
    I was with you right up till the iTard line... Foxconn and really china's labor practices in general are horrific, but it isn't apple to blame, it is the entirety of silicon valley, and possibly some blame can go on the U.S government and their lobyests for more or less doing nothing to discourage companies from off-shoring everything that is humanly possible to do.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stele (9443) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @03:47PM (#39048731) Homepage

    Makes sense. Apple makes a HUGE margin on their devices and has $80B+ in the bank. They could certainly afford to build them right here in America, and still make a nice profit, but they choose not to.

  • by noh8rz2 (2538714) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:00PM (#39048981)
    the whole summary is linkbait. Follow the articles... the internship program may be unpaid (like internships in the US mind you), but it's not "unvoluntary". From rtfa:
    * "Liu had traveled hundreds of miles for a chance to get hands-on experience working for China’s leading electronics maker."
    * "Liu’s internship — which he landed through a labor placement firm in the nearby city of Guangzhou — would have included housing, food, and a small stipend estimated to be about half the salary of a typical factory worker"

    if you actually read the text, the worst you can say is that many Chinese schools require internships in order to graduate. This is probably on par with US vocational schools. So let's hold off on the "zOMG won't somebody think of the childrenz!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:06PM (#39049115)

    Why do you hate capitalism so much?

  • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:15PM (#39049291)

    ... but it isn't apple to blame

    Correct. Their shareholders deserve the blame. Apple's just a corporation. Own Apple stock? You're a slaver. Buy Apple products? You enrich slave owners. FOAD.

  • by jamstar7 (694492) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:18PM (#39049373)
    Burgers, fries, and rap music.

    That's about it.
  • by EL_mal0 (777947) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @04:40PM (#39049943)

    but it isn't apple to blame

    I disagree. Apple is contracting with Foxconn to churn out millions of iDevices. Regardless of what other Silicon Valley companies are doing, Apple is the one that is dealing with FoxConn. If they think that the workers deserve better treatment, they have it in their power to see that their demands are met; if they aren't, then they can contract with someone who will. "I'm just following the status quo," is a poor defense.

    I work for a company that deals with a lot of contractors. If a contractor isn't living up to our expectations (usually safety related), we find a new company to do that work. If they're not living up to our standards, they don't come on our site. Our safety numbers reflect this. (I think our bottom line benefits, too, but those numbers are a little trickier to pin down.)

    I think that a company's handling of contractors reflects their values. Apple (and I guess the rest of Silicon Valley) values money more than good working conditions.

  • by voss (52565) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @05:00PM (#39050439)

    Uh you did know that china had been communist for 41 years prior to tianamen square? Right?

    The chinese people haven't given up and the china of 2012 is better than the china of 1989. There is more civil society
    in china now than there was 20 years ago. China still has a long way to go but things have changed. Do you even think
    20 years ago we would have even heard about what was going on in these factories???

    Cutting off china won't make china free, it will just make it isolated like we did with North Korea and Cuba.
    Embargoing Cuba has worked out great...oh wait Fidel Castro is still in power.

  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:07PM (#39051687)
    While Foxconn is an apparent beneficiary, the actual responsible party is the Chinese government. It is not stated whether Foxconn had any involvement in legislating the policy. The Henan provincial government is reported as having mandated internships as a requirement of completing a course of study, while undefined local government agencies appear to have a kickback scheme for filling worker quotas, also linked to graduation. Under free-market capitalism, the government has no say in education, and cannot coerce students into labor while concurrently enriching itself. Such empirical consequences of government intervention in the economy should give pause to those calling for a similar environment in the US.
  • by eulernet (1132389) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @09:22PM (#39054329)

    You totally miss the educational/motivational part of such internships !

    Once the students have worked during 3 months in these factories, they'll learn the following values:
    1) if you fail your studies, that's where you'll work until the end of your life
    2) if you succeed in your studies, you'll probably want to change the future working conditions in China.
    3) if you excel in your studies, you'll be the next bosses, and these are good lessons on how to exploit people.

    These are valuable work and life skills !

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