Videos show workers rioting at an iPhone factory in China

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Online footage appears to show rioting by workers at Foxconn’s iPhone manufacturing plant in Zhengzhou, China. The mass protests are the latest escalation in tensions over China’s COVID-19 measures at the factory. Clips show swarms of angry workers shoving and charging guards at the factory. Something is loading.

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Videos on social media appear to show hundreds of workers clashing with security guards at Apple’s biggest iPhone manufacturing plant in China, as discontent erupts over draconian COVID-19 measures at the factory .

Workers from Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory can be seen storming the factory grounds and charging at guards wearing white hazmat suits.

Insider was unable to independently verify when and where the videos were taken.

—Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferzeng97) November 22, 2022—老司机 (@h5LPyKL7TP6jjop) November 23, 2022

The violent protests began early Wednesday Beijing time, reported, citing an unnamed witness at the factory who also sent clips of the incident to the outlet. According to the outlet, a video shows guards hitting a person on the ground with sticks.

The riots took place over unpaid wages and workers’ fears of being infected with COVID-19, the witness told . Authorities deployed riot police to restore order, the witness also said, according to .

A live stream showed clouds of smoke billowing from a police vehicle, as a person shouted that tear gas and smoke bombs had been deployed, Agence France-Presse reported.

Foxconn and Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

In early October, the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou employed around 200,000 workers, many of whom come from villages and rural towns but live in dormitories run by the company.

Tensions at the factory have erupted several times over the past month as the facility struggled to quell a COVID outbreak in accordance with China’s strict zero-COVID policy.

The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has also seen unrest over coronavirus restrictions, with crowds marching through the streets and breaking quarantine barriers on November 15. The protests have centered in Haizhu district, where many residents are working poor worried about food shortages and rising prices. because they were banned from working, according to the BBC.

Tensions have been simmering at the Zhengzhou plant since October

Foxconn said Oct. 26 that its Zhengzhou plant was facing a COVID outbreak, according to the South China Morning Post. Other districts in Zhengzhou City were also battling epidemics and were also under lockdown.

Throughout this period, the factory has adopted a “closed-loop system”, in which workers are transported directly from their dormitories to the factory and back. The system allows the plant to continue operating while trying to eradicate the coronavirus.

However, these confinement conditions severely restrict the movement of workers, preventing them from dining in cafeterias and even forcing some to sleep in factories.

On October 31, videos emerged showing workers fleeing the factory due to food shortage issues and dissatisfaction with curbs. reported that developments at Foxconn’s factory could cut its iPhone production by 30% ahead of the holiday season. The Zhengzhou factory makes the majority of Apple’s global iPhone shipments.

Foxconn later denied claims on social media that several of its workers died of COVID-19 at the factory, calling the images of protesting workers “maliciously altered”. The company temporarily raised wages and increased workers’ bonuses in an effort to entice them back.

Provincial authorities have also asked retired soldiers and civil servants from nearby towns to work at the Zhengzhou factory, saying they can receive their current salaries and additional salaries from the factory, reported on November 16.

This story is developing. Please check for updates.

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