By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm
Apple has confirmed that an employee of its Chinese manufacturing partner Foxconn committed suicide last week. Various online reports say that the staffer, Sun Danyong, was responsible for iPhone prototypes and took his own life after one disappeared. And some stories are saying that Foxconn’s security department may have harshly interrogated or beaten him.
It’s hard to know what to make of this without definitive facts on what happened–the fact that it happened so far away, and that some of the coverage is in another language, doesn’t help clarify things. One story quotes a Foxconn spokesperson as saying “regardless of the reason of Sun’s suicide, it is to some extent a reflection of Foxconn’s internal management deficiencies.” That’s either a misquote or an example of amazing honesty that you’d never hear from an American PR person. But Daring Fireball’s John Gruber is right: Apple needs to find out what happened, and needs to be prepared to fire Foxconn if it’s enforcing Apple-related security by assaulting its own employees.