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August 23, 2017

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Foxconn apologizes for Gou over 'animal' workers remark

Foxconn, the main manufacturing unit of global electronics giant Hon Hai Precision Industry, has apologized on behalf of Chairman Terry Gou, who was cited by media as comparing his employees to animals.

In a statement issued on Jan. 21, the company said Gou never intended to belittle or look down upon his employees. "Yet, to anyone who felt offended, he apologizes," the statement said.

According to media reports, Gou made the remarks during the company's year-end party at Taipei City Zoo on Jan. 15.

During his speech, Gou was cited as saying there are many types of animals, and the zookeeper has done a good job taking care of the animals.

He then went on to say Hon Hai has millions of workers worldwide. "People are animals, too," he was quoted as saying. "To care for millions of animals everyday is a huge headache for me."

The remarks wreaked havoc in different segments of the society. Renowned filmmaker Tai Li-jen said on his Facebook that working employees like animals just to make money was nothing short of slavery.

Even scholars in Beijing castigated Gou for saying this.

"Foxconn has given people a bad impression for the way it manages its workers," said one scholar, who was alluding to a series of suicides that happened at Foxconn dormitories a few years ago.

"To say something like that would make people think that Gou himself is a cold-blooded animal," the scholar said.

After keeping silent for days, Foxconn issued the apology, saying Gou's remarks were taken out of context.

"All he was saying was that all humans are members of the animal kingdom, and because of this, we can all learn from the zookeeper at Taipei City Zoo," the statement said. "Gou's words did not target any specific group."

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