Seeing the living and working conditions of the bead makers in Mardi Gras- Made in China reminded me of the current scandal taking place at the moment with Foxconn, Apple’s production company in China. Large numbers of suicides of the workers have taken place. 14 deaths by suicide and 4 attempted suicides occurred between January and November of 2011. It is unclear if this is because of low wages and bad working conditions or if it is the common “copycat suicide” situation. In the past week this scandal has made headlines twice. As we all know, Apple is a huge company, and their products take an insanely large amount of complicated and difficult manufacturing. Apple has to make each intricate piece perfectly and cheaply. One Chinese report on Foxconn decried it a labor camp.
The suicides are terrible, but many people are arguing that the working conditions of Foxconn, although bad, aren’t any worse than the other manufacturing companies in China, it is just more widely known because Apple is so popular. This calls to the fact that Chinese working conditions are very poorly covered by media, and therefor no one really knows how bad they are. It is kind of depressing that it takes a huge company, like Apple, to shed light on the situation, and even then people think that it is just this one company that has conditions bad enough to make people commit suicide. In reality, the conditions are just as bad in most large Chinese companies.