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Apple China datacenter workers stuck in ‘dire’ lockdown

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Employees of a controversial Apple data center that is run by Chinese officials have been barred from leaving work and cut off from their families for a week as parts of the city where it’s located endure a “dire” coronavirus lockdown, according to a report. 

Apple’s data center, which is run by a Chinese government-backed partner called Guizhou Cloud Big Data, is on strict lockdown amid a coronavirus outbreak in the city of Guiyang, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. 

Many employees of the facility haven’t seen their families in a week as the faculty operates on a “closed loop” system designed to avoid infections, according to a social media notice from Guizhou Cloud Big Data that was reported by the outlet. 

“Faced with a dire situation, we need courageous people on the front lines,” the company said in a WeChat post. 

Six of Guiyang’s 10 districts are currently on lockdown, meaning that the many of the city’s 6 million residents are barred from leaving their homes for any reason except to get coronavirus tests, according to Bloomberg.

Guiyang lockdown
Large swaths of Guiyang are reportedly on lockdown.
Future Publishing via Getty Imag

Some residents have reportedly complained about a lack of food as government deliveries have stalled. 

Apple first opened the Guiyang data center in 2017 and the facility handles iCloud storage of emails, photos and videos for hundreds of millions of Chinese customers, according to Bloomberg. 

Under Chinese law, Apple was requred to give control of the massive datacenter to a government firm — a move that critics say enables government surveillance and repression.

Apple China
“Faced with a dire situation, we need courageous people on the front lines,” the Apple data center operator said.
Getty Images

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

This isn’t the first time China’s “zero covid” policy has snarled Apple’s operations in the country.

In May, workers at a factory in Shanghai that makes Apple products mutinied against lockdown restrictions, with dramatic video showing workers clashing with guards in hazmat suits and jumping across security barriers. 

As the coronavirus has snarled Apple’s manufacturing system, many Wall Street analysts had expected the company to jack up prices during the company’s iPhone 14 reveal event on Wednesday. 

But Apple did not raise US iPhone prices in what one analyst called a “shocker” move. The company did raise prices in some other markets, including Europe and Japan.

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