For the past few days, news about the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, Henan, China, has been circulating in the media, showing the plight of its workers. They have been forced to remain working inside the facility unable to return home due to an alleged outbreak of COVID-19. The industrial complex is home to nearly 350,000 employees and is known to be the largest iPhone factory in the world. The government and factory officials say that the situation is under control, that workers are receiving good quality food, good medical care, and that they will receive an extra bonus of more than $14 a day for those who remain at their jobs. 

But a rumor is going around on the networks that 20,000 workers are infected and employees are starting to escape from the facility. A rumor that the government denies.

Photos and videos uploaded on October 29 show people climbing barbed wire fences and walking along roadsides in an attempt to reach their homes on foot. They are generally young people in their 20s. A large group can be seen dragging luggage to the factory exit. 

A post from someone claiming to be a Foxconn employee, said that COVID cases are on the rise, and medical supplies and food are in short supply. That is why people are thinking of leaving.

Many have to walk a few dozen miles to get home, but there are also those whose homes are 60 miles or more away, so the journey on foot will take several days.

Japanese journalist Akio Yaita explained in a Facebook post why these workers decided to walk long days to reach their homes.

For those who have escaped from the restricted areas, the health code on their COVID-19 app automatically turned yellow or red. So it is not possible for them to take public transportation, eat in restaurants, or sleep in hotels. Nor can they work at any other factory. Their only option is to take refuge at their parents’ home.

The situation they experienced at their jobs must not have been ideal for these people to decide to escape in such a way.

Yaita commented that some villagers placed food and water for the workers along the road or at the exit of their villages. He thinks that while there is a show of goodwill, there is also fear that upon contact with these people, their health codes will change to yellow and they will be subjected to restrictions and quarantine.

Yaita also added, “After the outbreak, the Chinese government came up with the idea of controlling people with health codes. By adjusting the color of the health codes on cell phones, the government restricts the range of people’s activities.” Every Chinese person’s movements are completely controlled by the CCP. What is happening now is a real time version of the “1984” world.

One truck driver, anxious to help the escapees, sent reflective stickers so that they can travel on the side of the road safely at night.

The truck driver is heard saying in a video, “Guys, each of you put up a reflective sticker. It’s safe to walk at night. There are no street lights for the first 10 kilometers, so please pay attention to safety. Let’s go!”

On the social network Douyin, there’s video where several employees can be heard recounting their experiences during the quarantine inside the factory. One of them said, “It’s useless @ everyone in the group, and it’s useless to make wake-up calls to employees. I don’t know what to do now. I feel this is leaving people to fend for themselves. How to deal, but now the government and Foxconn haven’t said a word.”

Another employee said, while crying, that he did not have the strength to get on the top bunk because he is weak and has a high fever, “No one is answering the phone now, no one is answering the 120, it doesn’t matter if we take the 110. Is there anyone who cares if we live or die?”

Only one media outlet, We Media, reported on the flight of the factory workers. The former chief editor of the ruling media outlet Global Times, Hu Xijin, said on Weibo, “Zhengzhou’s mainstream media should not remain silent for so long on the Foxconn issue.”

He went on, “Now, in some places, mainstream organs restrict media coverage too strictly, with the original intention of controlling negative reports and maintaining social stability, but in fact, doing so will do more harm than good.”

Because the Chinese regime controls the media, developments can only come to light, and for a short time, through social networks, making it difficult for independent media outlets to ascertain the veracity of the material. But when the CCP’s censorship stubbornly hides something, the concealed information acquires a certain guarantee.

Videos circulated on Douyin and WeChat show Chinese army trucks entering Foxconn factory facilities.

In another video, a group of police officers can be seen blocking the way of several people, apparently factory workers who are fleeing.

These scenes show how the workers break through the blockade and seize supplies and then escape from the facility.

The consequences of the abusive use of the “zero-COVID” policy are leading to increasingly bold reactions from the Chinese population. Everyone, in one way or another, is waiting to see what will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

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