Terry Gou asks 'what's wrong with sweatshops?'

Terry Gou, whose Hon Hai Group was once accused of running "sweatshops" in China to make products for Apple, twisted the meaning of the term yesterday, saying there is nothing wrong about working hard as long as no law is broken.

"What's wrong with sweatshops?" Gou told a group of employees from China who were visiting Taiwan on company expenses as a form of reward for their outstanding performance.

"We sweat and bleed, as long as we comply with the law," the Hon Hai chairman said, stressing that the group and its employees deserve what they earn through hard work.

Hon Hai, which employs over one million workers at plants run by its Foxconn-named subsidiaries in China to make electronic products including those for Apple, has been eager to clear itself from labor abuse accusations.

Apple earlier this year commissioned a private labor watchdog to inspect Foxconn's plants in China. The watchdog's findings have been mostly in favor of Hon Hai.

"Thank you for coming to Taiwan," Gou said while hosting a feast for the outstanding Chinese employees at a Hon Hai factory in New Taipei City.

The tycoon even attached political significance to the employees' visit, saying their trip represents cross-strait peace and prosperity.

Peaceful co-existence across the strait is no longer unattainable or just political propaganda, he said.

He said the prosperity of future generations will originate from the "sweat" of Foxconn employees and the common beliefs in their "blood."

The visitors were picked from over one million Foxconn employees in China based on the merit of their performances over the last year, for which they also received an iPhone and a bonus of 5,000 yuan each.

The workers arrived in Taipei on April 22. The group traveled to the southern and central parts of Taiwan after seeing some of the landmarks in the capital city, including Taipei 101.

They had seen Sun Moon Lake and Alishan (Mount Ali) before returning to Taipei Friday.

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