Fear, panic, and ignorance were the causes of the widespread breakout at the largest Apple computer production line in the world.
Although Foxconn, the firm in charge of this vast facility, must take some of the guilt, the crux of the problem lies in this nation’s rigid, zero-Covid policy.
Workers there were informed by a news agency that they had to leave immediately for their own safety. Some claim they feared for their life, even though it may not be realistic.
Consider a 21-year-old Foxconn employee who was familiar with the rumors. The myths and rumours grew more and more outlandish as time went on.
The fact that her direct superiors at Foxconn insisted that there were no Covid infections at the factory even though the business had told the media that there were no “symptomatic” infections didn’t help. Yet there were numerous documented instances of employees who tested positive.
Thousands of employees had been told not to quit this sizable industrial complex. The rumour mill accelerated after employees were restricted to the factory’s other areas and worker dorms.
The teenage worker in the plant learned that the army was about to seize power and impose a massive “living with Covid” experiment that included letting everyone in that region of Zhengzhou city go ill.
These rumours said that the goal was to determine how many of them would perish. If the bloodshed wasn’t too severe, this would then serve as an indication as to whether or not the remainder of China could open up.
On these discussion groups, statements like “Foxconn is going to take my life” were being circulated.
Employees began to break out, indicating that she wasn’t the only one who heard this. Video of a yellow border fence being pulled down on Saturday night to allow people to flee circulated.
She already knew the following morning that several of her pals had successfully returned to their hometowns.
In her eight-person hostel, half of the residents had left. She prepared a bag but was unable to carry everything.
Another employee admitted to having a brief panic attack just before departing. “To be honest, I did not think it would be that bad at first,” she added.
“But then people around me started getting infected. Positive cases in other dorms were not being taken away to quarantine for several days. Those I know who kept working, all started confirming as positive.”
Phone app health codes will not legally allow anyone to escape, aside from the Foxconn employees, as the majority of Zhengzhou city is currently under some sort of lockdown.
Therefore, even if public transportation were running—including taxis—you would not be permitted to board.
Foxconn employees’ only option was to climb over the fence and just begin walking. Some people have had to do this by walking more than 100 kilometers while carrying whatever they can.
It’s not difficult to find pictures of long lines of mostly young individuals pushing baggage along the sides of highways.
Workers have been picked up and transported as far as possible by regular folks traveling through who felt sorry for them.
Workers have been cramming onto the backs of trucks in scenes reminiscent of the great depression a century ago, occasionally starting little fires to stay warm.
The footage of this has persisted, initially circulating in Henan Province before expanding throughout China and the rest of the world.
This is a full-fledged economic turmoil from zero-Covid.
Widespread ignorance of the illness’s nature has been a major issue. People in most of China are as afraid of getting the virus as they would be of getting cancer.
The Chinese government hasn’t done much to clear up these misconceptions and frequently works to deepen them.
The official line from those in power has been that while Covid has been decimating populations elsewhere, Chinese citizens should consider themselves lucky since the Communist Party is there to safeguard them with the zero-Covid strategy.
In spite of the fact that Covid has led to a horrific loss of life, it is true that this method has prevented the country’s hospitals from becoming overcrowded.
It is also true that getting the virus typically only results in a few days of being sick at home for the great majority of vaccinated affected individuals.
Many people in China are utterly unaware of this last aspect.
Therefore, for the Foxconn workers, this was not as horrible as the Covid hell they feared was setting in when they returned to their factory. Instead, they were placed in hurriedly built quarantine facilities at nearby high schools.
Naturally, the sight of employees evacuating their workplace has sparked outrage, and Foxconn has responded.
The corporation claimed that those who want to leave would be able to do so on safe buses that will transport them directly to quarantine facilities after being organised in collaboration with neighbouring cities. This will guarantee a much more tranquil and organised process.
Additionally, it has stated that bonuses for employees who work on-site and don’t take time off will be quadrupled.
The official lockdown has once again been implemented over the whole Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone, and for the moment being, the exodus from the factory seems to have stopped to a trickle.
One volunteer, who has been handing out food and water along the highways, informed us that by last weekend’s appearance, thousands were fleeing, but by this week’s middle, there were just dozens of them left.
Global supply networks for Apple and other products will be impacted in the short term if Foxconn is unable to effectively manage this situation.
In the long run, nevertheless, this indicates a much bigger issue for China.
The government’s method of regulating Covid is unable to function without seriously interfering with people’s lives and, possibly, important economic sectors.
This could not be as significant to China’s president, Xi Jinping, as keeping political power. However, there are just two options left: either change the zero-Covid strategy or prepare for additional instability a la Foxconn.