China locks down “iPhone city” after crackdown on employee protests calling for better pay

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Zhengzhou workers have been surrounded after attacks by security forces amid demands for improvements in working conditions

< /i> The confinements generate rejection in the population.

Six million residents of the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, home to the world's largest cell phone factory iPhone , have been in lockdown since Friday, after clashes between the police and the workers at that plant, who are demanding better wages.

Authorities have ordered residents of eight districts of Zhengzhou in central Henan province not to leave the area for five days and erected fences around residential buildings deemed “high risk” and checkpoints to restrict displacements.

In the city, only a handful of cases of coronavirus were detected.

The The order came after hundreds of employees at the Foxconn iPhone factory, on the outskirts of the city, will protest to demand better salary conditions. This Friday, new images of these marches were released.

The zero COVID policy dictates confinements in the region

In a video posted on social networks, which was geolocated by AFP, it is seen to a crowd walking down a street in the east of the city, some with banners.

“How many people!” a man is heard saying. AFP was unable to verify when exactly those protests took place.

Dozens of workers left the factory on Thursday after pocketing 10,000 yuan (about $1,400) pay. But, according to videos posted on the Chinese apps Douyin and Kuaishou, the Taiwanese company banned many of the employees who recently joined the company from going to work.

Many of these new Employees are confined to hotels outside the plant, several workers told AFP.

“We are quarantining in a hotel, and there is no way we can go to the Foxconn compound,” explained an employee, who requested anonymity.

Te It may interest you: The Chinese regime repressed the workers of an Apple factory who rebelled against the zero COVID policy

China locks down “iPhone city” after crackdown on protests by employees calling for better pay

Climate of Unrest

Another employee claimed that wage earners who were barred from going to work were promised 10,000 yuan compensation for undergoing quarantine, but that they had only received a part of that sum.

“They won't let us start work and we can't go home, Zhengzhou is confined,” one of the troops who were forced to quarantine told AFP, in the city of Ruzhou, southwest of Zhengzhou.

According to him, smaller-scale protests are also taking place in other cities across the province, organized by disgruntled Foxconn employees who, like him, were unable to join their new job due to quarantine.

China locks down “iPhone city” after crackdown on protests by employees calling for better pay

The riots in Zhengzhou occurred against a backdrop of unrest over the Asian giant's strict “zero covid” policy. That strategy, which involves large-scale lockdowns, travel restrictions and massive testing, has also dealt a heavy blow to the world's second-largest economy.

Despite this, China, a country of 1.4 billion inhabitants, reported 33,000 new cases of covid-19 this Friday.

In In the industrial city of Guangzhou, in the southeast, millions of people were forced to present a negative test for covid-19 to be able to leave their homes.

In that town, several inhabitants of the Haizhu district dismantled barricades and threw objects at police officers, dressed in protective suits, according to videos posted on social networks and geolocated by AFP.< /p>

“What do they do? What are they doing?” shouts a police officer, equipped with a shield, as he and his colleagues try to protect themselves from the projectiles.

With information from AFP

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