China locks down Zhengzhou over surge in cases, protests at iPhone factory

China will confine for five days due to the increase in cases of COVID-19 eight districts of the city of Zhengzhou (center), where the main iPhone manufacturing plant in the country is located, the protagonist of violent protests in recent days.

The health authorities will begin a “war of annihilation, control and pandemic prevention” on Friday at 00:00 local time (16:00 GMT on Thursday) in the main urban areas of the city due to the increase in covid cases, the local government reported.

The residents of downtown Zhengzhou they will require a negative covid test and permission from local authorities to leave the confined area, although they are advised not to leave their homes “unless it is necessary”.

The reactions to the news on the country’s social networks, such as Weibo – equivalent to Twitter, censored in China – were instantaneous and the majority questioned that the closure would only last five days.

“If you tell me half a month, I can still believe it, but in five days it’s a dream”assured on Weibo one of the most valued comments of an Internet user with the experience of almost three years of pandemic and similar communications.

“I saw many young people returning home with luggage before the Zhengzhou lockdown, and one young man told me that he didn’t think it would be clear in 5 days so he went home for the new year,” stated another account, in a situation that resembles that experienced in the hours before the first closure of the city of Wuhan (center), the supposed origin of the pandemic, in January 2020.

Meanwhile, foxconnthe Taiwanese company supplying the American Manzana and one of the main iPhone assemblers, issued a statement to defend its position after videos of workers at its factory violently protesting their working conditions and wages went viral on social media.

Workers at Foxconn's iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, central China, clashing with riot police and people wearing hazmat suits.  (Photo by AFPTV / ESN / STILL SALADA / AFP teams)
Workers at Foxconn’s iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, central China, clashing with riot police and people wearing hazmat suits. (Photo by AFPTV / ESN / STILL SALADA / AFP teams)

Foxconn’s plant has been running for at least a month in “closed circuit”which means workers cannot leave the facility, and in recent weeks it has been busy hiring more workers to bring production back to normal and replace the hundreds who left to avoid lockdown.

The company stated that “the salary has always been paid based on the contractual obligation” and that the accusation of hosting covid positives in the dormitories with the other workers “It is patently false.”

“Before new employees move in, the dormitory environment undergoes standard sanitization procedures, and only after the perimeter passes government control are new employees allowed to move in”the company added.

In addition, he assured that before “any violence” The firm will follow a process of communication with the workers and the authorities to “prevent similar incidents from happening again”, in what would be a confirmation of the incidents that occurred yesterday, but censored on the social networks of the Asian country.

The employees of the plant foxconn They left their residences during the early hours of Wednesday pushing guards clad in PPE suits, according to the videos, reproduced on platforms such as Twitter, banned in China.

Some of the guards beat the workers as crowds of people tried to force their way through the barricades and protested over wages, food during the lockdown or the accumulation of rubbish.

Since 2020, large factories in China like Foxconn’s in Zhengzhouhave responded to outbreaks in nearby areas by establishing a “closed circuit”, which isolates workers for long periods of time at the facilities to avoid contagion from the outside and maintain production, which has sometimes caused protests due to poor sanitary conditions or due to lack of food.

China It remains clinging to the ‘zero covid’ policy, which consists of isolating all those infected and their close contacts, strict border controls, mobility restrictions and massive PCR test campaigns wherever a case is detected.

Source: EFE