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Foxconn Worker in China Committed Suicide, HKCNA Reports

A Foxconn Technology Group worker in China’s Chengdu city committed suicide by jumping off a building this morning, Hong Kong China News Agency reported today, citing a person it didn’t identify.

Edmund Ding and Louis Woo, spokesmen for the Taipei-based company, didn’t answer calls to their mobile phones. The worker was a 20 year old male, according to the report.

Foxconn, which employs more than one million workers in China, makes Apple Inc. iPhones, Sony Corp. games consoles and Dell Inc. computers. At least 12 Foxconn workers committed suicide last year, prompting the company to install safety nets on buildings, raise pay and hire counselors.

Chengdu, the capital of southwestern Sichuan Province, is the location of one of Foxconn’s newest factories. An explosion May 20 at a company facility in Chengdu that makes iPads killed three people and injured at least 15 more, with the accident still under investigation, according to the company.

China had a suicide rate of 94.7 per 100,000 for the 15 to 59 age group in 2008, according to the most recent estimates available from the World Health Organization.

Most of the suicides at Foxconn last year were prompted by personal issues and not related to the company or work, Chairman Terry Gou said in June. Labor groups, including China Labor Watch, have labeled the company a sweatshop, a claim Gou and Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs have denied.

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