Apple manufacturer Foxconn, which produces the company's iPods and iPhones, plans to compensate the family of engineer Sun Danyong, who fell to his death on July 16 after a fourth-generation iPhone prototype in his possession disappeared. Sun's parents will receive both a lump sum and annual payments. Apple has dealt with public-relations crises by Foxconn before, mostly concerning the Chinese manufacturer's labor practices.
iPhone and iPod manufacturer Foxconn will pay compensation to the family of an
employee who died after an iPhone prototype went missing.
On July 16, 25-year-old
Foxconn engineer Sun Danyong fell to his death from the twelfth floor of his
Shenzhen apartment building, in what local authorities initially ruled a
suicide. According to the Chinese newspaper Nanfang Daily, Sun sent a text
message to a friend before his death, claiming that he had been interrogated
and beaten by Foxconn security after a fourth-generation iPhone prototype in
his possession disappeared.
Sun had been tasked with sending 16 prototypes of the smartphone to the United
States. After he reported one of the devices
missing, Foxconn personnel searched his apartment and questioned him. His interrogator,
Security Manager Gu Qinming, denied that he had harmed Sun in any way beyond
putting a hand on his shoulder.
According to the Associated Press
will pay Sun's parents a lump sum of roughly $52,600, on top of an annual
$4,385 for the rest of their natural lives.
A report by The New York Times
this week suggested that Sun's girlfriend had also received an Apple laptop as
In the wake of the death, which incited a great deal of international
attention, Foxconn also suspended the security manager and issued a statement
that read: "The company has noticed there has been much detailed
discussion on the Internet and welcomes public discussion on how to help
Foxconn's management where it is lacking."
Apple has previously dealt with public-relations crises caused by Foxconn.
In 2006, a British newspaper alleged that the Chinese manufacturer violated
labor practices, prompting Apple to audit Foxconn's facilities and interview
over 100 "randomly selected employees."
According to the report issued by Apple's team
the factory passed inspection in many areas, although it found that
"employees worked longer hours than permitted by our Code of Conduct,
which limits normal workweeks to 60 hours."
"Although our Code of Conduct allows overtime limit exceptions in
unusual circumstances," read the report, "we believe in the
importance of a healthy work-life balance and found these percentages to be
To date, there have been no reports on whether the iPhone prototype had been
recovered. A Foxconn employee suggested to a New York Times reporter that other
products in Sun's possession had disappeared in the past, only to have Sun
recover them later.