The Wall Street Journal has an editorial on the ten suicides at Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, which makes electronics for Apple and other firms: "A young manager killed himself last July after an Apple iPhone prototype went missing, and his final messages to friends suggest he had been interrogated and beaten. In a separate incident the following month, the company confirmed its guards beat employees after the incident was caught on video." Nevertheless, the Journal concludes, "for the time being Foxconn seems to be taking its responsibility to its workers' health seriously and deserves the benefit of the doubt." While the plants are in China the company is based in Taiwan.
China is popular today because the country's positive noises about Europe are credited with sending the stock market upward. But there's a disconnect between the actions recounted by the Journal editorial and Apple's image as a company that empowers and liberates individual creativity.
You can say, of course, that no one is forcing anyone to work at this factory, or that if Apple products were made by UAW workers in Michigan an iPhone would cost as much as a Cadillac. But somehow neither of those responses seem entirely adequate.