let’s clear something up. it’s very simple yet the mainstream media nor the bloggers seem to point this out and is resulting in the masses continuing to be misinformed, and worse, take inappropriate action: Foxconn is NOT owned, or in any way affiliated with Apple. they are an OEM manufacturer, hired by Apple (and many other hardware tech companies like Dell, Amazon, and HP) to produce the designs Apple creates. Foxconn is a manufacturer based in China, and as such, is required to follow all of the rules and regulations according to Chinese law.
expecting Apple to force Foxconn to do anything is unreasonable. expecting Apple to force China to change their labor laws is equally unreasonable. the only reasonable expectation is for Apple to change manufacturers that better suit the expectations of their customers, but that would do nothing to protect the Chinese workforce their either, as long as ANY factory Apple contracts with is under Chinese jurisdiction.
keep in mind that Foxconn employs over 700,000 workers in their assembly plant alone, not including the numerous supply factories that support the assembly lines. although every life is valuable, mind you that these reports have revealed ~30 suicides in the past 4 years. that is a minuscule percentage of the workforce: 1% of the workforce is 7000. if you superimpose that percentage of suicides onto a US based corporation like Boeing or Lockheed, you would find their percentage of suicides to be HIGHER than those at Foxconn. maybe it’s because workers are housed onsite or maybe, more likely, it’s because death from suicide doesnt make the news here.
bottom line, blaming Apple is wrong. expecting them to change China’s labor laws is wrong. and until people in the US start accepting that there’s more to manufacturing than just assembly, dont expect Apple, or anyone else, to start moving their manufacturing back to the US. it’s not about profits; it’s about flexibility and supply-chain economics. Apple isnt the only corporation whose manufacturing is done overseas, but with the recent news, you’d think they were.