Apple provider Foxconn helped persuade China to loosen up Covid guidelines: report

A man walks past a premises of electronics manufacturer Foxconn in Shenzhen on Saturday, September 3, 2022.

AH CHI | Future Publishing | Getty Images

The founder of China based Apple Offerer Foxconn helped persuade the country’s leaders to ease the Covid restrictions that sparked protests in China, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

In a letter to Chinese leaders sent over a month ago, the Journal wrote, Foxconn founder Terry Gou said China’s zero-Covid policy threatened its position in global supply chains. He also called for more transparency about how Foxconn employees were affected by the rules.

Foxconn’s iPhone plant in Henan province went into lockdown earlier this fall, restricting the movement of people in an area plagued by a Covid outbreak. Some workers tried to flee the factory on foot.

Gou’s letter helped Chinese health officials and government advisers lobby for an accelerated easing of Covid restrictions, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. The protests that later spread across China furthered this case.

Officials advocating a more lenient approach said the highly contagious Omicron variant meant lockdowns under China’s most restrictive policies would become more frequent while unrest over the rules grew.

Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in the United States, said in a statement he was “unaware of the details” when asked to comment on the reported letter.

“The Chinese government puts people and their lives first,” he said. “We have enhanced COVID response measures in light of changing circumstances. By making these adjustments in response to the new circumstances and tasks related to the COVID response, China has demonstrated that its approach is fact-based and responsive to change. We will continue to adopt a science-based and purposeful approach, and effectively coordinate epidemic response and socio-economic development.”

Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the full story in the Wall Street Journal.

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