This week’s episode of This American Life is powerful and thought- provoking. It’s about manufacturing in China, the ten million person city ofÂ Shenzhen, and how most of our computers and phones and miscellaneous gadgets are made by hand by millions of workers working at least twelve hours a day.
Apple has been conducting its own investigations of labour practices among its suppliers and has been publishing annual reports about them since 2007.
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[Update: 25 March 2012] This American Life discovered that the episode they broadcast on Apple factories contained a number of fabrications. They have retracted the episode and released another detailing what went wrong in their fact checking process: “We’ve discovered that one of our most popular episodes contained numerous fabrications. This week, we detail the errors in Mike Daisey’s story about visiting Foxconn, which makes iPads and other products for Apple in China. Marketplace’s China correspondent Rob Schmitz discovered the fabrications.”