After protests, lockdown begins in China’s ‘iPhone city’


Six million inhabitants of the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, where the largest iPhone cell phone factory in the world is located, went into confinement this Friday (25), after clashes between police and employees, who claim better wages.

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

Only a few cases of coronavirus have been detected in the city. The order came after hundreds of workers at Foxconn’s iPhone factory on the outskirts of the city protested to demand better pay conditions.

This Friday, new images were released. In a video posted on social media and geolocated by the AFP, a crowd walks along a street in the eastern part of the city.

“How many people!” says a man. The AFP was unable to verify when exactly this protest took place.

Dozens of workers left the factory on Thursday (24) after receiving 10,000 yuan (about US$1,400).

But, according to videos posted on Chinese apps Douyin and Kuaishou, the Taiwanese company has banned many of the employees who recently joined the company.

Many of these new workers are confined to hotels outside the factory.

“We are quarantined in a hotel and absolutely cannot go to Foxconn,” explained an official, who requested anonymity.

mood of malaise

Another official said wage earners who were prevented from working were promised compensation of 10,000 yuan for going through the quarantine, but received only part of that amount.

“We are not allowed to work and we cannot go home, Zhengzhou is confined,” one of those forced to be quarantined told AFP in the city of Ruzhou, southwest of Zhengzhou.

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

The riots in Zhengzhou took place against a backdrop of unease over the Asian giant’s “covid zero” policy.

That strategy, which involves large-scale lockdowns, travel restrictions and mass testing, has also dealt a severe blow to the world’s second-largest economy.

Despite this, China, a country of 1.4 billion inhabitants, registered 33,000 new cases of Covid-19 this Friday (25).

In the southeastern industrial city of Guangzhou, millions of people are now required to test negative for Covid in order to leave their homes.

Several residents of the Haizhu neighborhood dismantled barricades and threw objects at police officers, according to videos posted on social media and geolocated by AFP.

“What are you doing? What are you doing?” shouts a policeman, with a shield, as he tries to protect himself from the projectiles with his colleagues.

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