TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Video surfaced late last week showing over 100 workers at a Taiwanese-run factory that supplies Apple stream past security guards and leap over factory gates amid fears of a lockdown in the plant.
On May 6, video surfaced on Chinese social media showing throngs of factory workers dressed in white jackets leaping over factory gates and running past security personnel. The first scene of the 30-second video shows a hoard of factory workers pouring over a factory gate before running in every direction.
The man shooting the footage can be heard exclaiming, "Wow, even the police can't control them!" Another angle shows the workers crowding in front of factory turnstiles and climbing over them as security guards look on helplessly.
Another angle shows two men grappling on the ground as a woman shouts and tries to pry one off the other.
According to Reuters, the riot took place at Quanta Shanghai Manufacturing City, operated by Taiwan's Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), which accounts for approximately three-quarters of Apple's MacBooks. The firm also produces circuit boards for Tesla.
The campus covers the area of 20 football fields and encompasses factories and dorms for 40,000 workers, some living in cramped rooms with 11 roommates. Since April 18, the company has maintained a closed-loop to restart production with about 5% of its staff, or 2,000 workers, and there were plans to triple that number by April 22.
Shanghai government data has pointed to COVID cases from March 26 to May 4 at the address where the facility is located. However, Quanta did not report how many cases there were to workers during this period.
Since April 6, workers began issuing calls on Weibo for attention to positive cases that were not isolating. They also took to Douyin to post photos and videos of workers lining up to be bused to central quarantine facilities.
Some of those who were dispatched posted video of themselves quarantining at Shanghai's National Exhibition and Convention Center, one of the biggest quarantine facilities in the city. Others showed footage from a quarantine center made specifically for Quanta workers.
Employees and a source familiar with the matter told the news agency that there had been numerous infections on the Quanta campus. "Each dormitory reported a few positive cases a day, and eventually everyone became positive," said a worker surnamed Li, who added that there had been eight infections in his room alone.
Workers said that many cases were not properly isolated after receiving a positive result, and a source alleged there was insufficient space for isolation, leading to further infections. According to staff, the cause of the incident, which took place on May 5, was rumors circulating that positive cases had been detected among those working in the plants.
They had heard an order to return to their dorms and became "spooked" that they would soon be locked down inside the factory. Although the videos were scrubbed by censors over the weekend, many netizens continued to discuss the incident on Weibo and Douyin.