08/19/2010, 00.00
CHINA
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Slogans and clown masks against suicides at Foxconn

Company management try to stop the wave of suicides among employees with a "spontaneous" rally after work, urging workers to "love life". Hong Kong union: "Just treat them as human beings."

Shenzhen (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Taiwanese management of multinational Foxconn – a company with over 900 thousand employees, who in recent months have started to commit suicide - held a rally yesterday to raise workers morale. Over 50 thousand employees were dressed as clowns and chanted slogans decided on by the leaders, while their colleagues watched them through screens mounted on factory lines.

The "spontaneous" parade started at 5 pm in the factories of Shenzhen and Foshan in southern Guangdong and Kunshan in Jiangsu. Employees were encouraged to chant phrases like "Treasure Your Life, Love Your Family and Care for Each Other to Build a Wonderful Future" All dressed in "joyful" clothes.

According to Louis Woo, Assistant to tycoon Terry Gou, "none of the employees were selected, they took part on their own initiative. This event will help promote a positive outlook on life for all our employees". But a 17 year old worker Hunan, who watched the show alone, does not believe him.

According to the boy, who has worked for two months without making a single friend, "a parade would not stop you if you want to commit suicide." The latest to take his life in the wave of suicides that has struck the company, was a Shenzhen worker who threw himself from the dormitory roof last August 4.

Geoffrey Crothall, a spokesman for the China Labour Bulletin (Hong Kong organization committed to workers' rights in China), "the rally is not going to achieve anything except provide a bit of theatre. Basically what Foxconn needs to do is treat its workers like decent human beings and pay them a decent wage. It's not rocket science"
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