Bill Weir’s report from his 3-day trip to Foxconn (the iFactory):

In a three-golf-cart convoy, both Apple and Foxconn reps took us around to a half dozen production lines in Shenzhen and Chengdu, and there were always five to six people with us as we toured the factories and dorms. But aside from suggesting a visit to the counseling center or canteen, they never steered us to interviews and never interrupted. […]

Over three days in two cities, “Nightline” spoke with dozens of Foxconn workers, both on and off the factory campuses, both on and off the record. We were encouraged to enter any dorm at any time to gather as much insight as any strange Americans with cameras can. All the while, I kept imagining my own reaction if a Chinese TV crew burst into my home or office and started asking me how much I like my job.

Nobody has ever been inside the factory to report on the Foxconn working conditions and to interview and meet with so many of the factory workers.

I pull out my own iPad to show [line worker, Zhou Xiao Ying] a few pictures of my kid and America and her eyes light up when she touches the screen to swipe another photo into view. She’s never seen a working iPad up close before.

“For all the people in America who buy one of these, what do you want them to know about you?” I ask.

“I want them to know me,” she says. “I want them to know we put a lot of effort in this product so when they use this please use it with care.”

This is Weir’s written prelude to the Nightline special, “iFactory: Inside Apple”, that will air tomorrow night.

Nightline’s Trip to Foxconn