A Survey on Suicides in Factories in the Pearl River Delta (Chu Chiang Delta)

Friday, May 28, 2010

China Labor Watch conducted a survey from May 19 to May 24 in the following areas: Shenzhen Nanyou Industrial Park, Bao’an 71 Industrial Area, Xixiang Chentian Industrial Park, Baoan Gaoxinqi Industrial Park, Xixiang Xicheng Industrial Park, and Shenzhen High-Tech Park. These industrial parks contained electronics, hardware, garment, footwear, machinery, watches, retail, import / export, plastics and toy enterprises.

Survey Characteristics

Age of respondents

32 were 18-20 years old and 89 were 26-45 years old

Number of respondents

201 (79 female and 122 male)

Length of work experience

Less than one year, 26 persons
Between one and two years, 40 persons
Between two to five years, 66 persons
Between five and ten years, 44 persons
More than ten years, 25 persons

Sectors to which the respondents belonged

72 electronic
5 clothing
28 shoe
12 hardware
5 toy
21 machine
5 watches
11 food
1 retailing
2 import / export
16 printing
2 plastic
1 cleaning
2 decorative lighting
4 construction
1 express delivery
3 service industry
1 motor repair
9 other

Monthly wages

1000~1500 RMB:27
1500~2000 RMB:97
3000 and above: 14

Monthly work hours

180~200 hours: 15
200~240 hours: 94
240~280 hours: 57
more than 280 hours: 28

Types of insurance that respondents enjoyed

Pensions: 100
Work injury insurance 102
Unemployment insurance 0
Maternity insurance 5
Medical insurance 120
Other 5

Survey results

We asked the respondents the following questions and received the following answers:

I. How many suicides committed by workers have you seen or heard of?

78 in total

II. How did you come to know about the suicide (suicides)?

The suicides occurred close by to the respondent: 32
The respondent heard about the suicides from colleagues/ relatives/ friends: 10
The respondent heard about the suicides via the internet: 17
The respondent read about the suicides in the paper or saw coverage of them on TV: 14
The respondent came to know about the suicides through other channels: 5

IV. When were the suicide (suicides) committed?

The year 2000: 2
Before the year 2000: 2
The year 2001: 5
The year 2002: 2
The year 2003: 2
The year 2004: 1
The year 2005: 2
The year 2006: 5
The year 2007: 1
The year 2008: 8
The year 2009: 13
The year 2010: 28
Unsure: 9

V. How old was/were the person/people who committed suicide?

Under 20 years old: 8
21-25 years old: 40
26-30 years old: 18
Over 30 yuears old: 2

VI. Where did the person/people committing suicide work?

shoe factory 16
clothing factory 12
electronics factory 30
toy factory 4
others 16

VII. Where was the owner of the enterprise where the person/people who committed suicide from?

Taiwan 26
Hong Kong 16
South Korea 3
Japan 2
Mainland 11
Other 20

VIII. According to your knowledge, why did the persons mentioned commit suicides?

emotional troubles 30
work pressure 15
life pressure 16
physical diseases 8
Other 9


Of the surveyed people, more than 80% had heard of the suicides at Foxconn in the recent two years. Therefore, this survey does not take suicides at Foxconn into account.

If multiple respondents described the same suicide, that suicide is considered as one suicide in our data.

In the summary above, it can be seen that the number of suicides surged in 2009 and 2010. However, this should be considered as the real suicides in these two years are several times of those in the year before 2009. One possibility is that more than 33% of the respondents started to work within 2 years therefore they may probably not know suicides that were committed before 2009.

The category “other” in question VIII indicates the respondent did not know the reason for suicide.

1. Kenfa Precision Electronics Factory
2. Feida Electronics Factory
3. Jing Ying Da Electronics Factory (Dongguan)
4. Ming Hui Lighting Factory
5. Weida International Electronics
6. Dongguan Yuyuan Shoe Factory
7. Zhongshan Baoyuan Shoe Factory
8. HuaWei