Management practices at Apple’s manufacturing partner, Foxconn, remain in the spotlight as yet more news reports emerge explaining the tragic death of 25-year old engineer, Sun Danyong.

The latest batch of reports claim the hapless engineer’s family have now received compensation of c.$44,000 for the death of their son, while his girlfriend was given an Apple MacBook.

Sun was responsible for shipping prototypes from Foxconn’s development labs to Apple, and his problems really began when he discovered one of the 16 prototypes he was handling had disappeared.

He reported this, but later complained to friends he had been beaten and humiliated by Foxconn security, even warning his girlfriend to leave town and not make contact with him, according to a text message she later posted online.

Then, on the morning of July 16, Sun appears to have jumped from the 12th floor of an apartment building to his death, which Foxconn called suicide.

Apple said of the loss of the young engineer, “We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require that our suppliers treat all workers with dignity and respect.”

Sun’s fall has led to a wave of criticism of Foxconn’s treatment of its labour force, which was first examined in a report in the Daily Mail several years ago.

Labor rights groups say the worker’s death should compel Apple to improve conditions at its supplier factories in China and prevent worker abuse.

New York-based pressure group, China Labor Watch, blamed the death on, “Foxconn’s inhumane and militant management system, which lacks fundamental respect for human rights.”

Foxconn counters that it offers extensive accomodation and facilities for its staff and has been engaged in honestly seeking answers as to what happened to the missing proto-iPhone. Foxconn manager, James Lee also observed products had gone missing while in Sun’s possession in the past.

Meanwhile the security officer accused of mistreating Sun (who has since been reported to the Chinese police for investigation) once again denied any beatings, saying only he had “become a little angry” and grabbed Sun’s shoulder.

However, the hand of Foxconn’s control is illustrated by a report in the New York Times, which says one its journalists was speaking to Sun’s family when a security guard and two men in Foxconn T-shirts approached the journalist’s translator to threaten to beat them up if they kept asking questions. Foxconn says this guard was not on their staff, but could have been a police operative.
 

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