When your PR push can’t get your workers to stop leaping off of buildings, then perhaps it’s time to start up the censoring machine. News about Foxconn jumper number 12 (which happened just hours ago) has already been banned, but number 13 apparently leapt faster than the Ministry missive could come out and was reported on by Hong Kong media.
Meanwhile, ChinaSMACK has translated forum posts that say there was actually a double suicide (on Sina’s forums) and the jumper count is actually already at #15 (on Baidu Tieba’s), with #16 possibly close behind. Unfortunately, whoever is moderating Baidu’s Tieba forums is really quick on the draw – that post’s been erased already (ChinaSMACK has put a translation of the news up. Foxconn has reportedly also stopped talking to media altogether, preferring to go through more archaic channels … like faxing.
Meanwhile, a Foxconn representative has said there were no suicides today, which contradicts the media missive to not report on today’s 12th suicide.
So what the hell is going on? Chinese media has effectively blamed itself, citing a Marilyn Monroe-esque suicide wave – suicide rates rose by 12% in the U.S. after her death was reported – that’s been burgeoned by both foreign and local newspapers actually talking about the issue.
I’m not going to rule that out completely – heck, Norway’s journalism codes on suicide reporting say that they should “in general never be given any mention” for those exact reasons. But in this type of situation, would not reporting on it really be the right thing to do too? After all, would suicides like these even have the chance to catch on if Foxconn wasn’t an amazingly terrible place to work?