WORKERS at the world’s largest iPhone factory have been filmed attacking officers with metal railings and posts as riots broke out in China.
In shocking scenes, police officers wearing riot shields, face masks and hazmat suits hurriedly retreated as missiles rained down on them outside the factory.
The unprecedented disorder took place in the city of Zhengzhou in China’s east-central Henan province, following days of mounting unrest.
Protests at the iPhone factory of Taiwanese company Foxconn exploded after the reintroduction of strict Covid rules at the factory.
It comes just weeks after Foxconn introduced draconian Covid measures that forced staff into isolation.
Bizarre footage showed workers jumping the fence to escape the factory’s lockdown, where starving workers were reportedly fighting for food.
Former workers estimate that thousands have fled the Zhengzhou campus, which used to employ 200,000 people.
Foxconn is responsible for manufacturing 70 percent of the world’s iPhones, the majority of which are manufactured at its Zhengzhou factory.
Anger over strict quarantine rules and poor factory conditions has mounted since the Apple supplier imposed a so-called closed-loop system in late October.
In closed loop operations, employees live and work permanently on site, unable to leave and go to the outside world.
Such is the desperation to fill the jobs that local authorities have reportedly urged retired soldiers and government employees to work at the factory.
But sources have told Reuters that may have sparked the turmoil as Foxconn reportedly changed the terms of contracts for new employees.
Fighting broke out at the factory last month, showing footage of workers rushing to grab boxes of food.
It was previously reported that factory iPhone output could drop 30 percent in November, with Apple warning it expects fewer shipments of premium iPhone 14s than previously forecast.
Foxconn never treats people like people
The latest footage reportedly filmed at the factory shows thousands of workers surrounding a small squad of police.
They hurl metal railings and anything else they can get their hands on at the police, who quickly try to escape.
In a separate video, policemen marching between two rows of workers are attacked, some with what appear to be huge iron beams.
Furious workers have complained in the videos that they never knew if they would receive meals while quarantined, and of inadequate measures to contain Covid outbreaks.
“Foxconn never treats people like people,” said one person.
The Sun Online has reached out to Foxconn and Apple for comment.
“It is now clear that closed-loop manufacturing at Foxconn only helps prevent COVID from spreading to the city, but does nothing (or even makes matters worse) for the workers at the factory,” Aiden Chau of China Labor Bulletin, a Hong Kong-based advocacy group, said in an email.
Much of the footage originally shared on Chinese video platform Kuaishou has since been removed, but the clips have circulated on Twitter.
Police reportedly beat and detained workers as they tried to quell protests, which are almost unheard of in China.
Video shows masked police alongside officials in white hazmat suits brandishing batons and batons at protesters.
It comes amid increased anger in China over the government’s ultra-tight Covid restrictions, which have plunged 400 million people into lockdown, nearly three years after the first Covid-19 cases were discovered in Wuhan.
Some 31,527 cases were recorded on Wednesday, compared to April’s peak of 28,000.
Beijing is going back into lockdown as part of China’s harsh ‘Zero Covid’ lockdown measures.
Schools, restaurants, gyms, beauty salons and other facilities are closed this week.
Beijing’s health authority posted a message on Chinese social media platform Weibo saying that “epidemic control is at a critical time in the city”.
The capital now requires a negative PCR test result within 48 hours for those seeking to enter public places such as shopping malls, hotels and government buildings.