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Foxconn: Worker who lost half his brain in accident must leave hospital

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iDevice-maker Foxconn has confirmed to the media that it has been pushing for a Chinese worker with brain damage caused by a factory accident to leave the hospital.

Zhang Tingzhen's family said the manufacturer, which makes kit for Apple and other tech firms, has been sending text messages to them since July, demanding that he leave hospital and threatening to stop paying his medical bills, Reuters reported.

Zhang had half of his brain surgically removed after he received an electric shock at a plant a year ago and is unable to speak or walk properly.

Foxconn confirmed to Reuters that it had been sending messages but said it was necessary under Chinese law. According to the firm, Zhang needs to have a disability assessment, but that means that he needs to leave hospital in Shenzhen and travel 70km to Huizhou, where he was hired by Foxconn.

Employees in China who are disabled in workplace accidents and covered by insurance can get compensation payouts, but only once their disability is assessed and graded by a panel of medical experts.

The manufacturer added that it would be willing to get Zhang back to the hospital in Shenzhen after the assessment but his father has said that he's unfit to travel and at risk of a brain haemorrhage.

"They kept sending me SMSs every day to get my son out of hospital and to appear before an injury assessment body or they will stop paying all expenses, including his medical fees and our living expenses," his father Zhang Guangde told Reuters.

"You cannot imagine the suffering they put me through, how I had to fight every inch of the way just to get money so we can take care of our son."

Disability assessment takes place after medical treatment and that treatment is supposed to be continued for up to two years.

Foxconn, mainly due to its role as manufacturer of Apple hardware, has been the figurehead firm for Chinese labour rights over the last few years, after suicides at its plants, riots, strikes and allegations of underage, underpaid, overworked employees. ®

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