Apple to blame in Chinese factory worker’s suicide?

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That’s the question examined in an excellent piece of journalism by the Los Angeles Times this morning. It’s a perfect example of the value of  “boots on the ground” committing journalism for US audiences from foreign countries. In this case, how a West coast megacorp may bear responsibility for human rights abuses in China.

The basic facts reported are this: Sun Danyong, an employee at a mainland China factory that manufacturers iPhones, leaped to his death; Chinese authorities are investigating whether a supervisor allegedly drove him to kill himself.

The details are frightening: the allegation that the disappearance of a single iPhone prototype led Sun to be detained, interrogated and beaten by factory security; the likelihood that such behavior would be motivated by Cupertino, Calif-based Apple’s penchant for secrecy; allegations that such actions aren’t unusual at Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that operates the factory.

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