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China's Young Men Act Out in Factories

Now a majority at many plants, males harass, strike, and quit
China's Young Men Act Out in Factories
Illustration by 731

Foxconn Technology’s factory complex in Longhua, Shenzhen, has three Olympic-size pools, numerous basketball courts, shops selling Haier minifridges and Xiaomi mobile phones, even a teahouse, the Foxconn Café. The Taiwanese company, which experienced a rash of worker suicides four years ago, has tried to make a community for the 135,000 migrant workers assembling iPads and Hewlett-Packard servers.

Twenty-one-year-old Bai Yaojie, a Foxconn worker, says he isn’t impressed. “Sure, wages are higher here than in my hometown, but I have friends and family back there,” says Bai, a native of Gansu province who earns more than 2,000 yuan ($220) a month. “Work here on the line is extremely boring and life feels meaningless,” he says, adding that he plans to return to his village by yearend, get a driver’s license, and start driving his own truck.