In other news, reports from Chinese websites Sina and Games QQ have revealed that a factory in northeastern China may be accountable for employing children as young as 14 to undergo “forced internships”, and by extension, working overtime at Foxconn’s Yantai factory to manufacture a number of Wii U consoles, and meet demands. The report reads that the students were free to retire from the work at any time, but that by doing so would severely affect their grades, their ability to secure credentials and could result in expulsion from their school.
One of the children was reported to have been denied sick leave, and had since been dismissed from the factory and expelled from the school, saying, in translated speech, “whenever the work is done is when you get off your shift. If you don’t finish the work, he (the production line foreman) won’t let you end your shift. Usually, you can get off by 7 AM. My arms would hurt from the work.”
Child Labour Watch had also been involved in bringing this issue to light, via China National Radio‘s “Voice Of China” program. In reaction, the program voiced that, “this is not only a violation of China’s labour law, it is also a violation of Foxconn policy and immediate steps have been taken to return the interns in question to their educational institutions.”
Foxconn had confessed to Bloomberg that they had had a “small number” of child workers stationed at the Yantai factory, and that “we recognize that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologized to each of the students for our role in this action.” However, the manufacturing company did not acknowledge the employment of child workers at any other of their facilities.
It has not been confirmed whether the Wii U aspect of the story is true, and whether Nintendo are aware of Foxconn’s employment decisions. Nintendo are yet to disclose any statements.