Feeds

Foxconn won't sue over fabricated radio brickbats

'Our corporate image has been totally ruined,' but that's okay

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Chinese contract manufacturer vilified in the now-discredited public radio broadcast assailing its working conditions may be licking its wounds, but it won't seek redress in court.

"Our corporate image has been totally ruined," Foxconn spokesman Simon Hsing told Reuters. "The point is whatever media that cited the program should not have reported it without confirming [with us]."

Despite that ruined reputation and lack of fact-checking, Hsing said, "We have no plans to take legal action." Not to be too cynical – or too realistic – but the decision to forgo legal action may well have been motivated by Foxconn's desire to avoid scrutiny of the conditions to which it subjects its workers.

The program to which Hsing refers, "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory," an except from Mike Daisey's one-man show, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," was broadcast in January on the popular US public radio show "This American Life".

Subsequent research by China-based American Public Media correspondent Rob Schmitz revealed that Daisey had fabricated significant parts of what he reported to have been his actual experiences when speaking with Foxconn employees. As a result, "This American Life" retracted the story last Friday,.

The irony in this entire imbroglio, of course, is that conditions at Foxconn and other Chinese manufacuring plants are, indeed, grim. The company – a contract manufacturer for Amazon, Apple, Dell, HP, Microsoft, and others, reportedly – has been repeatedly upbraided for its dismal working conditions.

The focus on American companies' use of Chinese factories to assemble their gadget goodies – a spotlight that has to this point been aimed almost exclusively at Apple – has caused Foxconn and others to react, in part, by raising wages in its digital sweatshops.

That's all well and good, of course, for the Chinese men and women who have migrated from the countryside by the millions to work in that country's swiftly expanding industrial centers – if they can keep their jobs, that is. It seems that the ever-pesky law of unintended consequences has struck again: some major contract manufacturers are now exploring moving out of China, with the Phillipines being one beneficiary of that exodus.

While Foxconn's image may have been "totally ruined", there are plenty of other firms ready to take any contracts that foreign companies might withdraw from that Taiwan-based mega-manufacturer's parent company, Hon Hai Precision Industry. And those companies will both provide needed employment to the impoverished and likely subject them to dismal working conditions.

The rapid industrialization of Asia and its benefits to and exploitation of its citizens is a complex matter, one not easily summed up in fabicated theater pieces or resolved through feel-good petition drives.

But at least we, lounging in our comfy salons, won't have to endure the sordid spectacle of Foxconn dragging "This American Life" into court. Thank heaven for small favors. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register
You'll Read These And LOL Even Though They're Serious
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.