Six million people were on lockdown on Friday in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, home to the world’s largest iPhone factory, following violent clashes between police and factory workers angry because of unpaid wages.
Authorities have ordered residents of eight districts of the city, located in the central province of Henan, not to leave the area for the next five days. Barricades have been erected around residential buildings considered at risk and checkpoints have been set up in the streets.
Only a small number of COVID-19 cases have been reported in the city of 12.6 million people, but China has a zero-COVID policy.
iPhone factory employs over 200,000
The lockdown follows violent protests by hundreds of workers this week at the Foxconn factory on the outskirts of Zhengzou, which employs more than 200,000 people and is nicknamed the “iPhone city” because it is the world’s largest factory for Apple phones.
New images of the protests were shared on Friday on social networks. They show a crowd marching down a street in the east of the city, some carrying signs.
On Thursday, many disgruntled workers left the factory, which has been closed since October because of an outbreak of corona attacks.
€1,300 for any worker who wants to leave
Owner Foxconn confirmed to the Bloomberg agency that it is offering workers who want to leave a bonus of 10,000 yuan (more than €1,300). For most, that’s more than a month’s salary.
With the money, the workers, who often come from elsewhere in China, can pay for the trip home, Foxconn said.
More than 20,000 workers are said to have taken up that offer.