Foxconn Suicides Cry out for Warmer Working Environment
    2010-05-15 20:05:39      Web Editor: Liu Donghui
Another employee of Taiwan-funded Foxconn Technology Group ended her life this week, bringing the total to six so far this year.

People are wondering how to prevent the loss of these young lives in the first place.

A commentary on Beijing News noted that to maintain workers' mental health, companies should offer in-house psychological counseling and interventions, and also make sure that its employees feel 'happy'. Enterprises should improve workers' welfare and cultivate more humane corporate cultures, which encourage not only improved work performance, but also warmer and more supportive inter-personal relations between coworkers.

However, despite the fingers pointed to the rigid, semi-military corporate culture of the Foxconn company, sociologists pointed out that the suicide rate among Foxconn employees is actually lower than that in the whole country.

Fan Fumin, professor of Psychology Department at Tsinghua University, said the suicide rate among Foxconn employees is about 2 to 3 per 100 thousand. However, the figure is not high if compared to the suicide rate surveyed in China in 1999 by World Health Organization, which is 13.0 per 100 thousand in males and 14.8 per 100 thousand in females.

Therefore, other than an individual case, the serial suicides indicate a serious social problem that the whole Chinese society is now facing.

All 6 cases of suicides involved workers born in the 1980s and all were second-generation migrant workers. These farmer turned workers have chosen a different life than their fathers', as a result developing value systems and lifestyles very much close to their urban counterparts. However, the historical rural-urban divide and deep discrimination and inequality in society towards this group hindered their efforts to realize their dreams.

In response, sociologists call for more government actions to reduce the rural-urban gap in hopes of avoiding such tragic endings for these workers.

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