The Straits Times
Published on Oct 11, 2012

Worker's injury casts harsh new light on Foxconn and China


HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Apple's largest contract manufacturer has been pushing for a Chinese worker left brain-damaged in a factory accident to be removed from hospital in a case that throws a harsh new spotlight on labour rights in China.

Mr Zhang Tingzhen, 26, an employee of Taiwan firm Foxconn, had nearly half his brain surgically removed after surviving an electric shock at a plant in southern China a year ago. He remains in hospital under close observation by doctors, unable to speak or walk properly.

However, Foxconn, which is paying Mr Zhang's hospital bills, has been sending telephone text messages to his family since July, demanding they remove him from hospital and threatening to cut off funding for his treatment - a move the firm says would be justified under Chinese labour law.

Foxconn confirmed it had sent the messages, saying that under Chinese law the worker must submit himself to a disability assessment - a process that in Zhang's case would require him to be discharged from the Shenzhen hospital and travel 70km to Huizhou, where he was first hired by Foxconn.