Worker protest by suicide is a horrible fact of life in China. It serves as more evidence of the misguided approach to labor rights that the new human rights team at the State Department appears intent on following.
Instead of “constructive engagement” with the bosses in Beijing, we need pressure on China to recognize universal labor standards including the right to freedom of association.
Silicon Valley should take the lead here and ask for an independent investigation of labor conditions at Foxconn and the other offshore manufacturing centers used to build our laptops and smartphones and iPads by the ILO and including an internationally recognized team. Transparency is a crucial first step to encouraging Chinese workers to take advantage of universal human rights to solve their problems rather than desperate measures.