China’s ‘iPhone city’ under Covid lockdown after violent clashes – Digital Journal

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The lockdown orders follow protests by hundreds of employees over conditions and pay at Foxconn’s large iPhone factory on the outskirts of Zhengzhou – Copyright ESN / STILL SALTY/AFP AFPTV TEAMS

Jing Xuan Teng and Laurie Chen

Six million people were under Covid lockdown on Friday in a Chinese city that is home to the world’s largest iPhone factory, following clashes between police and angry workers over wages.

Authorities ordered residents of eight districts of Zhengzhou in the central Henan province not to leave the area for the next five days, built barriers around “high-risk” apartment buildings and set up checkpoints to restrict the trips.

There have only been a handful of coronavirus cases in the city.

The orders follow protests by hundreds of employees over conditions and pay at Foxconn’s large iPhone factory on the outskirts of the city, with new images of rallies emerging on Friday.

Video images posted on social networks and geolocated by AFP showed a large group of people walking down a street in the east of the city, some holding signs.

“So many people,” a man is heard saying. AFP was unable to verify precisely when the protests occurred.

And after dozens of workers left the plant on Thursday with payments of 10,000 yuan ($1,400) from Foxconn, posts on Chinese short-video apps Douyin and Kuaishou said the Taiwanese tech giant was turning away many of the thousands of people who had responded to their recruitment advertisements. after a series of outings in October.

Many of those who came to fill vacant positions at the factory are now stuck in quarantine hotels outside the plant, several workers told AFP.

“We are in a quarantine hotel and we have no way to go to the Foxconn campus,” said a worker who asked to remain anonymous.

Another employee said those turned away had been promised 10,000 yuan in compensation for being forced to quarantine, but received only a fraction of that amount.

“We are not allowed to start work and we cannot return home, Zhengzhou is under lockdown,” a worker forced to self-quarantine in the nearby city of Ruzhou told AFP after being promised employment at Foxconn.

He added that there were multiple small-scale protests in other cities in Henan by Foxconn workers who self-quarantined and were unable to start work.

The unrest in Zhengzhou comes against the backdrop of growing public frustration over the government’s zero-tolerance approach to covid, which is forcing local authorities to impose grueling lockdowns, travel restrictions and mass testing.

With China’s daily caseload at 33,000 on Friday, a record for the country at 1.4 billion, the relentless drive for zero Covid has sparked sporadic protests and hit productivity in the world’s second-largest economy.

In the southeastern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, millions of people have been ordered not to leave their homes without a negative virus test.

Social media footage posted on Friday and geotagged by AFP showed residents of the city’s Haizhu district dismantling barricades and throwing objects at police dressed in hazardous materials.

“What are you doing? What are you doing?” A police officer can be heard holding a shield as he and his colleagues walk away from the projectiles.

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