And my translator would say “He says he never thought of that before” and that would happen every time I asked that question.
And for me that was a really illuminating moment that, that you’re dealing with very different landscape. You’re dealing with a country that ah, has a Fascist government that locks down its people.
They are locked down in terms of their freedoms and what they’re allowed to think and then you’re imposing an incredible degree of Corporatism.
Corporation have been invited in and given free rein to control the landscape. They are given very pliable workers.
I mean people are not, people wonder how can they have such poor work conditions but we are working hand and hand with the government of China to ensure people don’t ask these questions you know?
Uhm… When they opened by the special economic zone, when they created it we could have exported not only our jobs but our values.
You know I’m not even talking about uhm ah, I’m not talking about anything extreme. I’m talking about things like a work week that has limits.
I’m talking about ah, people having appropriate breaks so they don’t actually die on the production line, and we chose not to do that. Our corporations chose not to.
Brian Lamb: In your play or should I say your monologue, you talked about suicides.
Mike Daisey: uhum
Brian Lamb: And I got on the web and found it. You don’t tell us how many they were but they are all around 20 years old.
Mike Daisey: Yes, many of the workers are quite young. They uhm fight hard to get these jobs.
You know they are some of the best jobs in China and people would struggle to get out of their villages to come to the south of China, to this sort of economic honey pot that we’ve created by the south of the country.
And so uhm, the perversity of that is that they are drawn to these jobs and then some of these people are the brightest people like in a different world.
Those same people some of them would be doctors and lawyers, and civil servants, and instead they go to the south of the country.
They all get degrees in electrical engineering and then they make our stuff, and fundamentally that soaks up the kind of people who, you know…
China is smart, China knows trouble comes from student protests; trouble comes when people have too much time on their hands.
And so it’s very much clear to me that the corporations work hand in hand with the Chinese government.
Like it sits there like an enormous heat sink on a computer soaking up all the people might otherwise cause trouble, and gives them a place to be.
They get a good wage that they send back to all the people in their village, and they are simply worked hard enough that they don’t have time to think about these things.
Brian Lamb: How many suicides in 2010?
Mike Daisey: I believe there were 13 or 14 in 2010. It’s a little, it’s a little blurry the numbers shift depending on which article you read, you know?
Uhm and it depends on uhm, ah, ah, what’s really interesting to me is the number of suicides in 2010 is not actually that different how many they were, in 2009 or 2008.
And it actually goes all the way back to when people start reporting on it, way back in 2005. What’s interesting in 2010 there happen to be a cluster of them.
What’s even more interesting is that the Associated Press happen to run a single story about the fact that, people are climbing up the roofs and throwing themselves off week after week in the same way at their workplace.
And because of that one article a certain degree of Western Press suddenly rose up about these issues. But they didn’t go very deeply. They just look at the fact that they are suicides. Like why there are suicides?