Moral Low Ground


Chinese Foxconn Student Interns Forced to Make PlayStation 4 or Not Graduate

Chinese students protest against Foxconn labor practices (Photo: SACOM HK/Flickr)

Chinese students protest against Foxconn labor practices (Photo: SACOM HK/Flickr)

Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant that has previously made headlines for worker suicides and poor labor conditions, has admitted that it has been forcing Chinese students to assemble PlayStation 4 gaming consoles against their will.

AFP reports Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer by revenue, admits to forcing student interns from an engineering university in Xian, central China, to join a company internship program in Yantai, Shandong province, in which they worked night shifts and overtime in violation of corporate policy.

According to the Oriental Morning Post, students claimed they were forced to toil on assembly lines manufacturing Sony’s soon-to-be-released PlayStation 4 gaming console, sometimes for shifts as long as 11 hours, instead of doing any work related to their majors. When some of the students expressed their desire to drop out of the internship program, they were told that they would lose credits and not be able to graduate.

“In the case of recent allegations regarding the internship program at our Yantai campus, we have conducted an internal investigation and have determined that there have been a few instances where our policies pertaining to overtime and night shift work were not enforced,” Foxconn said in a statement. The company claims it has taken immediate action “to bring that campus into full compliance with our code and policies.”

Foxconn, the trade name for Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., assembles products for some of the world’s largest technology firms, including Apple, Nokia and Sony. The company has attracted worldwide attention over its labor practices. In 2010, more than a dozen Chinese Foxconn workers killed themselves due to poor working conditions. According to ABC News, the company raised workers’ wages by nearly 70 percent in its Chinese factories following the wave of suicides.

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