Up to last month, 15 young people working in the Foxconn factories had died from committing suicides. Tian Yu is one of the four survivors of suicide attempts at Foxconn, which produces gadgets for Apple. She jumped from her fourth floor dormitory at Foxconn’s Longhua plant in Shenzhen in March this year. The youngest among those attempted suicide, the 17-year-old is now receiving treatment in a hospital in Wuhan.
Tian Yu’s father is a man who has worked all his life farming land. Tian decided to follow her cousin who was working at a Shenzhen factory, after finishing vocational training in computer and failing to find a job. She found a place in Foxconn and after basic training, started her first job – inspecting computer screens. She was given only a few seconds to do the checking and this monotonous process continued for 10 hours a day.
And she was assigned to live with workers coming from other hometowns far from her own’s, and who worked different shifts. She had no friends there and stayed all the time in the factory. She had never been to the centre of Shenzhen during the first month of working in Foxconn.
After one month’s work, she was confused about how to claim her wages. She was told by her supervisor that she needed to go to another Foxconn plan, more than an hour’s bus ride away.
She then had only five yuen left in her pocket and a broken mobile phone. So she took a bus to claim her one-month salary, only to be brushed away by people there, asking her to go to someone else for help.
“I was so angry that my mind went blank,” Tian said. “Why was it so hard to get what I had earned? Why must they torture me like this? I felt so bad at the time, and I didn’t want to be insulted any more so I went home.” She told South China Morning Post.
In her dormitory, she was penniless and alone, as all others had gone on night shifts. She cried herself to sleep. The next morning, she jumped from the dormitory to escape from her desperation and helplessness.
“Why was it so hard to get what I had earned?” After reading the story, this line resonates in me. You must work hard for me, but I don’t care if you get what you deserve. That is the plight of migrant workers in China (and not to mention things like the military style management and the dormitory arrangement in factories like Foxconn).