Apple Inc. is scheduled to raise the curtains on its widely reported upcoming iPhone a couple of days later. However, it does seem like the Cupertino-based company will have to fight off a spate of ugly updates coming its way from China, where at the moment the Apple iPhone 5 is being readied. Shanghai now reports that several students in an east China city are being pushed to work at a Foxconn plant after classes were suspended at the beginning of a fresh semester. The report adds that when the factory, run by Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Company failed to get in enough workers to produce the iPhone 5, students from Huai'an in Jiangsu Province were driven in to the effect. 

Shockingly, in her statement, a student at the Huaiyin Institute of Technology, majoring in computing revealed that 200 students from her school had been pushed to work at the factory. As per the report, she went on to add that the production work commenced last Thursday, and students were being paid 1,550 yuan (US $243.97) a month for working six days a week. 

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Students labour for the iPhone

The report quoted a student from Jiangsu Institute of Finance and Economy as saying that students belonging to departments of Law, English and Management were working at the plant. A Huai'an University student posting under the name of Dalingzhuimengnan revealed that students were keen to get back to their studies, which had been seriously disrupted. The student added further that the Foxconn plant was short of 10,000 workers. 

A post by MengniuIQ84 reveals that schools were ordered to send students to help at the Foxconn factories. Their parents were not informed about it, nor were any agreements signed with the students. 

It has emerged in this entire episode is that some institutions even went as far as punishing students who attempted to leave the factory. It has been known that a couple of students withdrew their internship programs at the factory after media exposure and public pressure.

Help did come to the students in the form of Yu Fangqiang, Executive Director of Nanjing-based Tianxiagong, a non-government organization, who has been working towards offering help to students to take legal action against their schools. He adds that students, however, fear repercussions of such a move. They fear that they may not be allowed to graduate. 

The report adds further that, “The Huai'an Education Bureau said they were aware such programs ran during the summer break but did not know that schools had continued them into the new semester. An official, who refused to be named, said it was a common practice to send students to renowned companies and factories, something that served the enterprises and expanded students' horizons, he said.”

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