Late Friday, news broke on several wire services that Chinese workers had engaged in a massive strike at a Foxconn manufacturing plant in Zhengzhou, China. The source of the story was a press release issued by China Labor Watch, a New York-based labor right organization. Over the weekend I made the decision that I would write about the strike for my weekly column at Bloomberg View, and my assistant and I began searching for additional details about the incident. By Sunday, however, we’d failed to dig up much at all – especially on China’s microblogs, which tend to be a useful repository of information on labor unrest.
The absence of information is often the best information, and in this case the lack of corroborating information on a strike involving – allegedly – as many as 4000 people raised my suspicions. Those suspicions resulted in some serious online investigating, a dash of frustration and my latest for Bloomberg View, “Did Chinese iPhone Workers Really Go On Strike?” For me, doing that piece was an education in how news is made – even when, as in this case, it’s not news.