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BBC Chinese: A Large Number of Zhengzhou Foxconn Workers Fled on Foot

BBC Chinese recently reported that, at the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan province, there are many workers who have been fleeing this largest Apple iPhone assembly plant in China amid reports that the Covid outbreak has forced a lockdown. It has not been possible to verify how many confirmed cases of Covid-19 were found at the plant. Parts of this big city of about 10 million are now on lockdown as China continues to impose strict government Covid control measures. Taiwan’s Foxconn Group, a top supplier for Apple, has hundreds of thousands of workers at its Zhengzhou factory, but the company has yet to provide official figures on the number of infections. Due to the outbreak at the Zhengzhou factory, iPhone shipments in November may be reduced by as much as 30 percent. Footage shared online, including Chinese social media, showed workers leaving the factory and starting a long walk back home so they could avoid arrest on public transportation. A 22-year-old Foxconn worker surnamed Xia said that the dormitory where he and his colleagues were kept was “chaotic,” so he jumped over the fence and escaped. Under China’s strict Zero Covid policy, local governments have the power to act quickly to contain any outbreak of the virus. This includes anything from total lockdowns to regular testing and restrictions on travel . According to online reports, these workers did not in fact flee at first. After the outbreak came, they were helpless and could only obey orders. If it wasn’t for the unbearable situation, they would have been willing to cooperate. Some reports indicated that, after ten days of not having food and water, many workers broke through the interception of the security guards and managed what can be called, “a great escape.”

Source: BBC Chinese, October 31, 2022