The lockdown orders follow protests by hundreds of employees over conditions and pay at Foxconn's vast iPhone factory on the outskirts of Zhengzhou Photo: ESN / STILL SALTY/AFP

China's 'iPhone city' under COVID lockdown after violent clashes

By Jing Xuan Teng and Laurie Chen

Six million people were on Friday under COVID lockdown in a Chinese city home to the world's largest iPhone factory, after clashes between police and workers furious over pay.

Authorities have ordered residents of eight districts in Zhengzhou, in the central province of Henan, not to leave the area for the next five days, building barriers around "high-risk" apartment buildings and setting up checkpoints to restrict travel.

There have been only a handful of coronavirus cases in the city.

The orders follow protests by hundreds of employees over conditions and pay at Foxconn's vast iPhone factory on the outskirts of the city, with fresh images of rallies emerging Friday.

Video footage published on social media and geolocated by AFP showed a large group of people walking down a street in the east of the city, some holding signs.

"So many people," a man can be heard saying. AFP was unable to verify precisely when the protests took place.

And after scores of workers left the plant Thursday with payouts of 10,000 yuan ($1,400) from Foxconn, posts on Chinese short-video apps Douyin and Kuaishou said the Taiwanese tech giant was turning away many of the thousands of people that had answered its hiring ads after a raft of departures in October.

Many of those who have arrived to take up newly vacant posts at the factory are now stuck in quarantine hotels outside the plant, multiple workers told AFP.

"We are in a quarantine hotel, and have no way of going to the Foxconn campus," one worker who asked to remain anonymous said.

Another employee said those turned away had been promised 10,000 yuan in compensation for being forced to quarantine, but received only a fraction of that amount.

"They are not letting us start the job and we cannot return home, Zhengzhou is under lockdown," one worker forced to quarantine in nearby Ruzhou city, after being promised employment at Foxconn, told AFP.

He added that there were multiple small-scale protests in other Henan cities by Foxconn workers made to quarantine and unable to start work.

The unrest in Zhengzhou comes against the backdrop of mounting public frustration over the government's zero-tolerance approach to COVID, which compels local authorities to impose grueling lockdowns, travel restrictions and mass testing.

With China's daily caseload at 33,000 on Friday -- a record for the country of 1.4 billion -- the unrelenting zero-COVID push has sparked sporadic protests and hit productivity in the world's second-largest economy.

In the southeastern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, millions of people have been ordered not to leave their homes without a negative virus test.

Social media footage published on Friday and geolocated by AFP showed residents of the city's Haizhu district dismantling barricades and throwing objects at police in hazmat attire.

"What are you doing? What are you doing?" one police officer holding a shield can be heard asking as he and his colleagues back away from the projectiles.

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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With China's daily caseload at 33,000 on Friday -- a record for the country of 1.4 billion -- the unrelenting zero-COVID push has sparked sporadic protests and hit productivity in the world's second-largest economy

I have a hard time believing that in a country with over 1 billion people their "daily record" was only 33,000.

Sounds like another country I know that likes to play with the numbers to keep the people in control!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Is there trouble in the communist party paradise that is China? Yes there is. Citizen unrest and protests is now becoming the norm thanks to the unrealistic and overly harsh Covid restrictions forced upon the citizens. Little to no compensation or assistance for workers losing jobs, for locked down people to pay rent etc. The longer this situation persists the worse for the people and by extension for the nation.

China likes to feel smug and superior to western democracies, but the cracks have now become well established in the Chinese system. The rot that has become established will only get worse with time. The fall of the CCP has begun. Once the Chinese throw off the shackles of the CCP and feel real freedom to comment without harsh censorship there will be no going back. Holding back a 1.4 billion people tide is futile. Change is coming and it cant be stopped.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yea, what do Chinese citizens not have that allows this to happen?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Time for Apple to invest elsewhere. Straight up business decision, nom politics even involved.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

What's the difference between a CCP COVID lockdown and prison?

They feed you in prison and you get medical care for non-COVID issues.

Freedoms are important. The freedom to complain to the govt when they do wrong things. The freedom to meet with others, so the group can organize an effective message. The freedom to throw out leaders in a way that doesn't leave a power-vacuum, but is planned and controlled based on the wishes. Sure, the people can elect the wrong guy and it sucks for 1 term, until they can throw him out if his cronies won't do their job and have him removed for incompetence or violation laws.

The current leaders in China are about power, not serving their country.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The difference here from the brutal take down of HK protestors is that it is quite difficult to be an effective government stormtrooper whilst wearing a hazmat suit.

But if they give the CCP goons clearance to beat citizens up without protection, they are exposing their con.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"The orders follow protests by hundreds of employees over conditions and pay at Foxconn's vast iPhone factory on the outskirts of the city,.."

Yeah. This is covid related. Next, they'll be quarantining Taiwan. This new covid strategy would be put in place for anyone who has come down with covid. Symptoms include: questioning authority, not praising the dear leader enough, and workers complaining about working conditions. Be vigilant. This virus is contagious.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is what Life is like under the CCP Rule....

Our own leaders are being bought out by the CCP, so that they can have control - the covert Police Stations being an example, have been here a long time...

If you think the CCP is great, then you can down vote my comments - which, I'm sure many will, but it you think otherwise, think about what's actually going on behind the scenes, and do some of your own research.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A wicked regime with no respect for human life

0 ( +2 / -2 )


Most doesn't matter. From reports that I have seen a solid 30% of people did support the folks protesting mandates. That is just too large of a portion of society to be marginalized and dismissed.

Mandates from Canada, New Zealand and Europe dropped quickly when government realized that a significant percent of their populations were no longer willing to be told to sit down, shut up and do what you are told to do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Saving lives comes at a cost.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

This is what governments in the "free" world have in store for us if we let them. The G20 recently decided it wants to institute global vaccine passports, with travel rights only for people who submit.

If you are an accomplished traveler you know about the vaccination "Yellow Card" that has been around for many decades. A lot of countries won't let you in unless you can submit proof of certain vaccinations. Perfectly reasonable if you ask me

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I feel good about having Android phones.....made in Korea and Vietnam. O.j.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Thank God hundreds of millions of people are being controlled by despotic, narcissistic power hungry regimes, otherwise a few off them might have caught a sniffly cold or had a minor headache. They are very lucky others know what is good for them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Apple’s primary contractor, Foxconn has assembly plants in China, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Europe, India and several other counties I cannot remember. They even own a TV assembly plant in Wisconsin. They also own Sharp in Japan. They make electronics for Apple, Dell, Nokia, Amazon, Sony PS consoles, MS Xbox consoles, etc. so if you're going to avoid buying electronics from China or from a parent company headquartered in China, then you're going to need to research your brands very, very carefully. The majority of consumer electronics are assembled in China, Taiwan, or S. Korea at plants owned by one major corporation (Foxconn is the publicly traded company name, it is incorporated as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., which reportedly sees close to $5 trillion in annual global revenue). "

iPhones have been made in China and Taiwan, and the new iPhone SE has been reported to perhaps also being assembled in Brazil - all at Foxconn plants though.

In the US, 7 out of every 10 smartphones made in China

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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