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China begins containment measures around iPhone city – Science et Avenir

The quarantine of six million people began on Friday in the Chinese city where the world’s largest iPhone factory is located, after violent clashes between workers and police over wages.

Authorities have ordered residents of eight districts of Zhengzhou, the capital of the central province of Henan, not to leave the area for the next five days.

Barricades have been erected around residential buildings considered dangerous, and checkpoints have been set up on the streets.

The city of 12.6 million has only a small number of Covid-19 cases.

The quarantine comes after violent protests by hundreds of workers this week at Foxconn’s factory on the outskirts of the city, which employs more than 200,000 people and is nicknamed “iPhone City” because it’s Apple’s biggest phone plant.

New images of the protests were posted on social media on Friday, and their geolocation was confirmed by AFP. It shows a crowd marching down a street in the east of the city, some people carrying placards.

“There are so many people there,” a man can be heard speaking in this video. The AFP agency was unable to confirm when the demonstration took place.

– Forced quarantine –

Many disgruntled employees on Thursday left the factory, which has been closed since October due to an outbreak of Covid cases, in exchange for bonuses of 10,000 yuan (1,340 euros).

And the new ones, who responded in the thousands to ads posted by Foxconn to be able to keep iPhone production going, were placed in solitary confinement before they could even enter the site, many employees told AFP.

“We are in quarantine at the hotel and there is no way to get to the Foxconn site,” the employee said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another said that those who were quarantined were offered a reward of 10,000 yuan in compensation, but received only a fraction of the amount.

“They won’t let us start work and we can’t go home because Zhengzhou is in lockdown,” a worker who was supposed to start at Foxconn but ended up in quarantine in nearby Ruzhou told AFP.

Several more demonstrations of new Foxconn employees who have been quarantined and unable to start work have taken place in other cities in Henan province, he said.

– “Share it!” –

Other videos, uploaded Friday and flagged by AFP, show angry workers knocking over furniture and berating police in a hotel lobby in Nanyang, about 280 kilometers from Zhengzhou.

These employees appear to have been quarantined at this facility. In one of the videos, a man challenges Internet users: “To everyone who is online: please share this!”.

The angry protests in Zhengzhou come amid growing public discontent with China’s strict zero-Covid policy, which includes repeated lockdowns, movement restrictions and near-daily population testing.

On Friday, the number of cases in China reached 33,000, a record since the start of the pandemic, even if the figure remains very modest in this country of 1.4 billion and the vast majority of cases are asymptomatic.

In the southeastern industrial city of Guangzhou, millions of people have been ordered not to leave their homes without a negative test result.

Videos posted to social media on Friday and geotagged AFP show residents of this city in the Haizhu district dismantling barriers and throwing objects at policemen dressed in white hazmat suits.

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