Shanghai on Saturday issued an edict allowing local factories to resume production, which has been halted in recent days due to a city-wide Chinese coronavirus lockdown, as long as “workers live on site,” China’s state . global times reported on Sunday.
The Shanghai Municipal Economic Commission issued the return-to-work notice on April 16 and included specific anti-epidemic guidelines for all governments and district authorities to follow when resuming operations at factories in Shanghai.
“Companies should formulate plans for closed-loop management, where workers live on site and are tested regularly. They should also apply for approval to restart production with COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] control authorities at the district and municipal levels,” reads the press release.
While the global times reported that the Shanghai government issued the back-to-work edict on April 16, a separate report by China’s official state news agency (Xinhua) suggested that the order was issued sometime earlier. Xinhua revealed on April 17 that at least one major Shanghai manufacturer, Taiwan-based Quanta Computer Inc., had already resumed limited operations on April 15.
“The manufacturing city of Quanta Shanghai on Friday [April 15] resumed production with some 2,000 staff members working under closed management,” the news agency reported, referring to Quanta’s “city” or manufacturing base in Shanghai’s Songjiang district.
“Production at the F1 and F3 factories, which make laptops for Apple and accessories for Tesla, respectively, is already underway,” Xinhua reported.
Quanta’s production base in Shanghai includes eight plants and more than 40,000 employees.
SAIC Motor, China’s largest automaker, planned to restart production at its Shanghai manufacturing facility on April 18, according to the report. global times. SAIC Motor is the Chinese partner of German automaker Volkswagen and US automaker General Motors.
US electric vehicle company Tesla Inc. “started preparing to reopen its Shanghai factories on Monday. [April 18]”, reported Reuters.
“Tesla has called workers to its factory to prepare for the restart,” the news agency revealed, citing accounts from two anonymous company sources.
The sources told Reuters that “while the US automaker initially intended to resume a production shift on Monday [April 18] now i was looking to do it tuesday [April 19] …because a supplier was facing logistics problems.”
The global times on April 17 it acknowledged that the resumption of Shanghai factories would only allow for limited production capacities. The Communist Party-run newspaper admitted this was not only due to the restricted number of workers allowed to return to work at the sites, but also because of the “logistical” problems Tesla alluded to on April 18. .
“For any manufacturer planning to resume work in Shanghai, if they can’t access rapid supplies of components and raw materials upstream, simply bringing workers together in the factory area will not be enough to get them back to operational normality.” , noted the post. .
“[L]Logistics remain a serious problem for many factories near Shanghai and along the Yangtze River Delta, and this will block the transportation of some raw materials to Shanghai, preventing production capacity from being fully restored,” a supplier Shanghai-based auto parts company identified only by name. last name, Zhang, told the global times on Sunday.
Shanghai is the main financial center of China. The city is home to both the world’s busiest shipping container port and hundreds of manufacturing plants run by multinational companies. Shanghai’s estimated 26 million residents have been on lockdown to contain the latest outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus in the city since April 5.
Southeast China’s tech hub Shenzhen, which shares a border with Hong Kong, similarly allowed only a few factories to resume production in mid-March during a city-wide lockdown period if they practiced so-called “closed-loop management.” “. This meant asking workers to “eat, sleep and work in bubbles isolated from the rest of the world, sanitizing facilities up to three times a day and testing for COVID.” [Chinese coronavirus] daily,” Reuters reported on March 17.
“Apple supplier Foxconn said it was able to restart some production at its campus in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen after implementing such an agreement,” the news outlet confirmed at the time.
“Foxconn said it could only apply the bubble to campuses that included employee housing and production facilities,” Reuters noted.
China’s ruling Communist Party has infamously treated factory workers in the country’s westernmost region, Xinjiang, as most of those workers are members of the central Asian Uyghur ethnic group. The Uyghurs are a majority Sunni, Turkic-speaking Muslim minority. The group, along with similar ethnic minorities in Xinjiang such as Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, have been forced to work in Xinjiang factories under slave labor conditions since at least 2017, with many funneled into more slave labor in factories within of major Chinese cities. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute reported on the phenomenon in a March 2020 analysis titled “Uyghurs for Sale.”
“[L]The Xinjiang provincial government pays a per capita price to local governments and private brokers to arrange labor. [for Uyghurs, Kazakhs, or Kyrgyz people]”, revealed the report.
“A local government work report from 2019 says: ‘For each lot [of workers] who is trained, an employment batch will be arranged and a batch will be transferred. Employees should receive a full ideological education and stay in their jobs,’” according to the institute.