Eye-Witness Testimony of Worker Involved Foxconn’s Taiyuan Factory Riot
Editor’s note: This worker was unclear about the date on Sunday when the riot occurred. He or she mistakenly thought that it was September 24 when it was actually September 23.
Internet user (“Si Yue Chen Ji”) talks about his/her personal experience at the Foxconn Riot.
I am an ordinary worker at Foxconn Taiyuan factory. I witnessed the riot that took place in Foxconn Taiyuan factory on the night of September 24, 2012. I was extremely shocked yet extremely pleasured by the event. It is to my greatest satisfaction to see those guards run away like frightened rats.
The first thing I want to mention is that there were more than 2,000 workers, a number given by Foxconn and local police, who took part in the riot. I estimate there were around 10,000 people. The rioting crowd spread out for two kilometers. It’s a scene that reminds me of the large-scale strikes during the revolution era.
At around 11pm on September 24, several workers from Shandong and Henan Provinces started to fight each other. The number of workers involved was quite limited yet the way they fought was brutal. In extreme arrogance, the workers from Henan stabbed workers from Shandong.
Since the entire building is occupied by workers from Shandong, a group fight broke out. However, the number of workers involved was limited. The guards arrived on the scene. Instead of stopping the fight, a guard stabbed a worker from Shandong and seriously wounded him. The worker then lied on the ground bleeding badly. At this moment, all workers from Shandong were enraged and started to fight the guards. At first the guards were aggressive since there were hundreds of them. However, as more and more workers from Shandong gathered, the guards were overpowered and beaten. Realizing that they were outnumbered, the guards started to run away
At that time, all of the workers from Shandong as well as those coming from other places were completely irritated. The furious workers smashed all guard posts in the factory campus and overturned a fence made of metal bars. Even the front gate of the campus was destroyed. Several patrol cars were burned. More and more people got involved, a lot of whom lost their minds and smashed everything they saw, including the supermarket and internet cafe on the campus. The supermarket was ransacked. Many private cars parked on the campus were overturned. The workers’ anger reached a climax. When the police came, they did not dare to get out of their cars. Some of the police cars were smashed. Later, the riot was only suppressed when the military arrived.
This riot at Foxconn’s Taiyuan factory lasted for 6 hours from 11pm on September 24 to 5am on the morning of September 25. Police stated that the riot was put to an end at 3am on Sept. 25, but it wasn’t like this.
The next day, on the morning of September 25, there were no guards in the factory. There were around 2,000 police officers and military personnel around to maintain order. The whole factory was a mess.
This whole thing actually started off as a common fight among workers. Although brutal, there were only 10 people involved. It only turned into a serious riot after the guards arrived at the scene and started to beat the workers without asking any questions. It’s really too sad.
Incidents in which guards beat up workers at Foxconn Taiyuan frequently occur, and the methods used are brutal. I had witnessed one such incident just several days after I started working at Foxconn. I was shocked by the scene I saw at that time. In Foxconn Taiyuan, the guards have been the common enemy of all workers from early on. Every worker resents them. However, the company turned a blind eye on such issues, disregarding basic respect towards workers. It is just a matter of time until such eruption of emotions occurs.
Therefore, the culprit of this 10,000-worker riot at Foxconn Taiyuan is Foxconn itself. No matter how moving the words of Foxconn’s spokesperson, none of it can bury the truth of this incident.