Foxconn sues journalists behind sweatshop report

— 1:58 PM on August 30, 2006

According to a report by Shanghai Daily, two Chinese journalists who published a story about sweatshop-like conditions in Foxconn's iPod plants have been hit with a lawsuit by Foxconn's Chinese subsidiary. The journalists have been sued for the equivalent of $3.77 million and have had their assets—including apartments, cars, and bank accounts—frozen due to a petition by Foxconn's subsidiary to the Chinese court handling the case. Foxconn alleges that its reputation was damaged by the journalists' report.

The original report stated that Foxconn paid its workers as little as $51 a month to work up to 15 hours a day. Foxconn's Longhua plant, the report said, housed 200,000 workers who slept in huge dormitories and weren't allowed visitors from the outside world. Apple eventually launched an investigation into Foxconn's practices and reported two weeks ago that the supplier turned out to be "in compliance [with Apple's Code of Conduct] in the majority of the areas audited."

In response to the lawsuit, the Chinese paper employing the two journalists said it would stand behind them and "bear all possible consequences in this case." The paper also stated that the Chinese press community will condemn Foxconn's petition to get the journalists' assets frozen. Foxconn also faced a backlash from journalists after suing a Taiwanese reporter and similarly freezing her assets two years ago. The company ended up dropping the case because of pressure from the Association of Taiwan Journalists. Thanks to Engadget for the links.

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