Patrick Mattimore reporting for China’s People’s Daily Online:
Taiwanese-owned Foxconn has had seven suicides this year. That sounds like a lot, but the firm has an estimated 800,000 workers, more than 300,000 of them at a single plant in Shenzhen.
Although exact figures are hard to come by, even the most conservative estimate for China’s suicide rate is 14 per 100,000 per year (World Health Organization). In other words, Foxconn’s suicide epidemic is actually lower than China’s national average of suicides.
I’ve been passing over the whole Foxconn suicide story mostly because it is a touchy subject. But, I’ve also avoided it because most of what I’ve read about it has been written with an anti-Apple slant. Many of them feeling more like Apple hit pieces than anything else.
I certainly don’t want to downplay suicide, but you can’t deny the fact that Foxconn’s suicide rate is much lower than China’s as a whole. The conversation we should be having is about how we can prevent suicides, not about how we can prevent suicides at Foxconn.