Moment workers at world’s biggest iPhone factory attack cops in hazmat suits with metal railings as riots break out
WORKERS at the world’s biggest iPhone factory have been filmed attacking cops with metal railings and poles as riots broke out in China.
In shocking scenes, police officers with riot shields, face masks, and hazmat suits, beat a hasty retreat as missiles rain down on them outside the plant.
The unprecedented disorder took place in the city of Zhengzhou in China’s east-central Henan province, after days of mounting unrest.
Protests at the iPhone factory owned by Taiwanese firm Foxconn exploded following the reintroduction of strict Covid rules at the plant.
It comes just weeks after Foxconn brought in draconian Covid measures forcing staff into isolation.
In bizarre footage, workers were seen jumping the fence to escape the lockdown at the factory, where reports claimed starving employees were fighting over food.
Former workers estimate that thousands have fled the campus in Zhengzhou, which formerly employed 200,000 people.
Foxconn is responsible for producing 70 percent of the world’s iPhones, with the majority of them manufactured at its Zhengzhou plant.
Anger over the factory’s strict quarantine rules and poor conditions has risen since the Apple supplier imposed a so-called closed loop system in late October.
Under closed-loop operations, staff live and work on-site permanently, unable to leave and go to the outside world.
Such is the desperation to fill the jobs, local authorities have reportedly been urging retired soldiers and government workers to work at the plant.
But sources have told Reuters that this may have triggered the unrest when Foxconn reportedly changed the terms of the contracts for new workers.
Fights broke out at the factory last month, with footage showing workers scrabbling to grab boxes of food.
It was earlier reported that iPhone output at the factory could plummet by 30 percent in November, with Apple warning it expects lower shipments of premium iPhone 14s than previously predicted.
Foxconn never treats humans as humans
The latest footage reportedly filmed at the plant shows thousands of workers surrounding a small squadron of police.
They hurl metal railings and anything else they can lay their hands on at the cops, who quickly try to escape.
In a separate video, police officers marching between two lines of workers are attacked, some with what appear to be huge iron beams.
Furious workers have complained in the videos about never knowing if they would receive meals while in quarantine, and about inadequate measures to contain Covid outbreaks.
“Foxconn never treats humans as humans,” one person said.
The Sun Online has approached Foxconn and Apple for comment.
“It’s now evident that closed-loop production in Foxconn only helps in preventing COVID from spreading to the city, but does nothing (if not make it even worse) for the workers in the factory,” Aiden Chau of China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based advocacy group, said in an email.
Much of the footage originally shared on the Chinese video platform Kuaishou has since been taken down, but the clips have spread onto Twitter.
Cops have reportedly beaten and detained workers as they attempt to clamp down on the protests, which are of a scale almost unheard of in China.
Video shows masked police alongside officials in white hazmat suits swinging batons and sticks at protesters.
It comes amid wider anger in China at the government’s ultra-strict Covid restrictions, which have seen 400million plunged into lockdown, almost three years after the first Covid-19 cases were discovered in Wuhan.
Some 31,527 cases were recorded on Wednesday compared with the April peak of 28,000.
Beijing is going back into lockdown as part of China’s harsh ‘Zero Covid’ lockdown measures.
Schools, restaurants, gyms, beauty salons, and other facilities have been closed this week.
Beijing’s health authority posted a message on the Chinese social media platform Weibo saying “the epidemic control situation is at a critical time in the city”.
The capital now requires a negative PCR test result within 48 hours for those seeking to enter public places such as shopping malls, hotels, and government buildings.
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