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Foxconn heartened by US radio retraction

By Huang Yuli (China Daily)

09:47, March 20, 2012

Foxconn said it was heartened by the retraction of a US radio station's program involving fabricated statements about its factories on Monday.

The American radio series, This American Life, retracted a widely heard program in which an actor named Mike Daisey told of his "horrible" experiences during his visit in a Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, including meeting teenager workers and workers whose hands were shaking "uncontrollably" because of contact with toxic chemicals.

His words proved to be made up, according to a statement on This American Life's home page published on March 16.

In the statement, the program's host, Ira Grass, said "we're retracting the story because we can't vouch for its truth."

Liu Kun, spokesman for Foxconn, told China Daily on Monday the company is heartened by the retraction of the false information.

"Mike Daisey is a performer, and we have always said that his comments about our operations were fictional and that they did a disservice to those Foxconn staff and employees who have worked very hard to create an industry-leading operation in China. We are heartened by the efforts of This American Life to correct the record."

According to This American Life's statement, the program was an excerpt from Daisey's theater show and he told his fictional story as facts in the radio program.

"Daisey lied to me and to This American Life producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story," says the statement. "We never should've put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake."

Daisey was quoted in the statement as saying that "my mistake, the mistake I truly regret, is that I had it on your show as journalism, and it's not journalism. It's theater."

Foxconn is Apple's largest supplier, and according to the company it employs around 1 million workers in nearly 30 cities on the mainland.

Forty percent are in Shenzhen, where the Taiwan company's mainland headquarters are located.

Rights groups have criticized Foxconn for several years for what they describe as harsh working conditions.

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