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Another Foxconn employee falls to death at Shenzhen factory; note found

English.news.cn   2010-05-25 09:20:39 FeedbackPrintRSS

SHENZHEN, Guangdong, May 25 (Xinhua) -- An employee of Foxconn Technology Group died after falling from a building at the company's plant in Shenzhen early Tuesday morning, the latest in a string of such deaths at the company's Shenzhen plant.

It was the ninth such death and the 11th such fall at the plant in Shenzhen City, south China's Guangdong Province, this year. Two Foxconn employees were severely injured in failed suicide attempts.

The death of Li Hai, a 19-year-old male, was confirmed by the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau Tuesday.

Witnesses said that Li jumped off from the fifth floor of the training center building.

Police have confirmed that the death was suicide and that too much pressure was possibly the underlying cause.

Police have found Li's death note left in his dorm. In the note, Li said to his father that he was sorry he could no longer take care of him.

"I have no capabilities. I have got what I deserve," sources quoted the note as saying.

Police said that the content of the note indicated that Li had lost confidence in his future, and that his expectations of what he could do at work and for his family far outweighed what could be achieved, which resulted in enormous psychological pressures.

Police are continuing their investigation into the case.

Chen Hongfang, deputy director of Foxconn's labor union, said Li had only worked in the South China Training Center in Foxconn's Guanlan plant for 42 days.

"Li was a vocational-school graduate from central China's Hunan Province. He fell from a building at Foxconn's Guanlan plant at 6:20 a.m.," Chen said.

Foxconn is part of Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and makes computers, game consoles and mobile phones for companies including Hewlett-Packard Co., Sony Corp. and Nokia Corp.

Of Foxconn's 800,000 employees in China's mainland, 420,000 are based in Shenzhen. They work shifts and live inside the massive factory complex.

Talking or answering phone calls during work time is forbidden and workers are not allowed to leave production lines unless the line supervisor temporarily takes their place, said Foxconn employee Cheng Lin.

The spate of tragedies, involving workers aged between 17 to 28 and all born into rural families, has not only aroused debate over the technology giant's management methods, but also highlighted the plight of the "new generation" of migrant workers from rural areas trying to succeed in China's metropolises. Eighty-five percent of Foxconn's employees are under 30.

In April, Foxconn opened a hotline aimed to help its employees who were suffering from work or societal pressures. Over the following three weeks, the hotline received calls from 710 employees, including 16 who claimed they planned to commit suicide.

"I repeat the same work everyday and can't find any fun in my life. The most important thing is, I don't earn enough for my hard work," said Pan Lingfeng, a 19-year-old employee of Foxconn.

"I've had dozens of employees come to complain about their troubles mainly concerning romance or work," said Feng Shiting, a psychological consultant who had worked with Foxconn for half a year.

Born in the late 1980s and 1990s, the youths from rural areas were more familiar with the urban lifestyle than the rural one, said Luo Jiade, a sociology professor with Tsinghua University.

The new generation of migrant workers, who dreamed of succeeding in the cities, experienced much more stress than their predecessors, said Wang Tongxin, vice president of General Trade Union of Shenzhen City.

On May 4, three young farmer workers poisoned themselves and two died in Taizhou City of the eastern Zhejiang Province.

The three young men from Sichuan Province followed their parents to Taizhou hoping to make good money.

"They committed suicide because they were depressed about their poor family and social relationship as well as the gap between their dreams and the reality," said Yang Boquan, a senior psychiatrist with Taizhou City Central Hospital.

The youths were more mentally fragile compared with their parents, since the second generation have not experienced as much hardship, Yang said.

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