Giving new meaning to ‘internment camp,’ Chinese universities are reportedly requiring students to accept two-month ‘internships’ at Foxconn factories, where they work overtime assembling the iPhone 5s that Apple will unveil on Sept. 12.
Thousands of students are required to take the internships in order to graduate, according to Chinese media reports — even those studying law or English. They are paid 1,550 yuan (US$243.97) per month for working 12 hours a day, six days a week, but much of that goes to pay for their food and accommodations.
Upon arrival at the factories, the “interns” are required to sign a contract with Foxconn affirming that they are working voluntarily and willing to work overtime. Those who answered “No” to these questions were reportedly singled out and pressured to change their answers to “Yes.”
Foxconn has released a statement saying that students are free to leave the internship program at any time, and that an audit by the Fair Labor Association “confirmed that there was no evidence to indicate that any of the interns were pressured to participate in or to continue to participate in any internship program.”
Nonetheless, Shanghai Daily reported that students feared retaliation from their schools if they refused, and that they were recently bussed to Foxconn factories after their classes were suspended.