The 'iPhone suicide' of Sun Danyong has made headlines across the tech world for the last two weeks. While we may never know the truth of what happened in Foxconn's corporate enclave, we now know how it is being resolved. We've just learned today that Foxconn is attempting to pay off the family of the deceased engineer with $44,000 dollars.
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That's a substantial sum in that part of the world, but it doesn't come close to making up for the loss of a human life. If Foxconn's interrogation practices did indeed lead to Danyong's death, there's no way this is sufficient compensation. Unfortunately, considering the state of Chinese labor laws, his family was probably lucky to get even that.
Danyong's girlfriend, who received a text message from Sun warning her to leave town, has been given an Apple MacBook by way of compensation. Considering what the poor girl has gone through over the last several days, that is a gesture that borders on insulting.
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Some good may yet come of this tragic situation, however. This suicide has drawn international media attention to Foxconn's labor practices, which could shine enough of a negative light on them to force changes. Apple can't continue to be associated with a company that mistreats its workers. If Foxconn wants to keep their contract, they'll need start treating their workers like people. For Danyong's family and girlfriend, however, that is small comfort indeed.