Scuffles broke out in Taipei yesterday as protesters alleging labor abuses by IT giant Foxconn Technology Group tried to enter a venue where President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was opening Asia's biggest technology fair.
Shouting “Save workers, President Ma!” about 60 people from several labor groups accused the high-tech company of making profit by setting up “sweatshops” around the world and clashed with police when they tried to approach Ma in front of the Nangang Exhibition Hall.
They were protesting the death of 10 workers at a Foxconn plant in the Chinese city of Shenzhen in apparent suicides this year.
PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES
An 11th worker died at a factory run by the firm in northern China.
Ma ignored the protest and entered the hall, while the police stopped the protesters at the door.
Speaking earlier at the opening ceremony of Computex Taipei 2010 at Taipei World Trade Center, the president touted the rapid development of the nation’s high-tech industry and wireless technology.
“Taiwan and mainland China will sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), which will help us connect with the world, and we expect the computer industry to serve as a vanguard in the process of seeking closer economic ties with the international community,” Ma said at the ceremony.
The fair has attracted more than 1,700 companies around the world, including 106 Chinese firms.
Ma lauded the development of WiMAX technology as he watched a demonstration of how WiMAX’s high-speed connectivity could facilitate medical services, including transmitting test results and exchanging medical information between sites.
The president said he expected a further expansion of the use of WiMAX in disaster and rescue work, such as sending geological information on local rivers and hills to disaster prevention centers during the typhoon season to better monitor the situation and protect local residents.
“Technology deployment is still relatively new in disaster prevention work. Hopefully, by taking advantage of WiMAX technology in conducting flood and mudslide prevention work, we can reach out to the people and protect more lives,” he said.
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