Chinese Catholics Criticize Church After Factory Suicides

Catholic employees at a Foxconn electronics factory in Shenzhen, China, have criticized a lack of church support for migrant workers following a string of suicides since January. Some migrant workers from the company, which produces the iPhone and other products for Apple, have set up their own online mutual support site in the wake of at least 13 suicides or attempted suicides at the firm. They were joined by Catholics working in other Shenzhen factories. Catholics at the firm have little contact with local Christians. "I am unfamiliar with the local environment and know few parishioners, as I sometimes have to work Sundays," said a person identified only as Chen, a Catholic layman who works for Foxconn. In the absence of the local church support, Chen and about 30 other Catholics set up the online forum. A priest identified only as Father Joseph, from the Catholic parish in Shenzhen, admitted his church needed to mobilize the faithful to care for migrant workers. "Our action has been slow, probably due to immaturity of our faith formation," he said. However, local Catholics do have a sense of social concern, he said.

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