Electronics manufacturer Foxconn said Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 it found underage interns as young as 14 working at one of its factories in China.
Pictured: Staff members work on the production line at the Foxconn complex in Shenzhen, China.
Foxconn Technology Group said the interns were found by a company investigation at its factory in the eastern city of Yantai and were sent back to their schools. China's minimum legal working age is 16.
Pictured: Employees stand on the balconies of a residential house at the Foxconn complex in Shenzhen, China.
Foxconn, owned by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is best known as the manufacturer of Apple Inc.'s iPhone but said the Yantai factory had no connection with its work for Apple.
Pictured: Local and mainland Chinese universities' students, dressed as the Foxconn workers, hold mock iPads with a skeleton print outside an Apple Premium Reseller shop in Hong Kong.
The company said it is investigating with schools how the interns were sent to its factory. It didn't say how many underage interns it found.
Pictured: Windows of a Foxconn workers' dormitory building are broken after a brawl in Taiyuan, capital of Northern China's Shanxi province.
"We recognize that full responsibility for these violations rests with our company and we have apologized to each of the students for our role in this action," Foxconn said in a statement. "Any Foxconn employee found, through our investigation, to be responsible for these violations will have their employment immediately terminated."
Pictured: Chinese men walk near a scale model of the Shanghai headquarters for the Foxconn Technology Group displayed at the groundbreaking ceremony in Shanghai, China.
Foxconn produces iPhones and iPads for Apple and also assembles products for Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. The company gave no indication what products were made in facilities where the interns worked.
Pictured: Staff members work on the production line at the Foxconn complex in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
A labor rights group, China Labor Watch, said in a statement that primary responsibility lay with the schools involved but "Foxconn is also culpable for not confirming the ages of their workers."
Pictured: Workers take photos of a car turned over after a brawl by employees at Foxconn's industrial zone in Taiyuan, capital of Northern China's Shanxi province.
Conditions in factories in China are a sensitive issue for foreign companies that outsource production of shoes, consumer electronics and other goods to local contractors. Last month, Foxconn suspended production for one day at a factory in the city of Taiyuan following a brawl by as many as 2,000 employees that injured 40 people.
Pictured: The windshield of a Foxconn's shuttle bus is cracked after a brawl in Taiyuan, capital of Northern China's Shanxi province.
Foxconn is one of China's biggest employers, with about 1.2 million employees in factories in several cities.
Pictured: Police in anti-riot suits cordon off a road near Foxconn's plant in Taiyuan, capital of Northern China's Shanxi province.
The company has an internship program that takes vocational students who work for three to six months in its factories, accompanied by teachers.
Pictured: Visitors at a job fair walk past the Foxconn recruitment area in Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong province.
Foxconn faced a complaint in August that vocational students were compelled by their schools to work in its factories in China. Foxconn said the students were free to leave at any time.
From riots to underage interns, the manufacturer responsible for the latest iPhone is once again embroiled in controversy. Read more