While Computex 2010 attendees are currently bathing in hardware goodness inside the Nangang Exhibition Center, labor unions and environmental groups are using the trade show as a platform for protesting against a number of companies with booths at Computex. Though it's unfortunate for the companies involved, it's also quite expected given recent reports of inhumane working conditions at many Chinese manufacturing plants used by Microsoft, Foxconn, Apple and more.
"A few minutes after I arrived at the venue, a few people started gathering near the pre-registration booth beside the main entrance of Nangang Exhibition Center," said Tom's Rico Mossesgeld. "Some of them took turns on the megaphone, while others held up placards with pictures of Steve Jobs and what looks like other Taiwanese officials, declaring them Wanted. Clearly, they were protesting about worker conditions in China, related to Apple and recent high-profile factory worker suicides. Unfortunately, as I'm not fluent with Chinese, I only had a general idea of the grievances they aired."
The local police eventually came in and rounded up the protestors, clearing a safe passage to the convention hall entrance for Computex 2010 attendees. The scene heated up upon the arrival of Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou, as at least one protestor tried to approach the President. The police immediately moved in to restrain him, however not without a fight. The resistance continued until the protestor was removed from the convention center grounds.
"Clearly, the police just wanted to keep him away from the President," Rico said. "All while this happened, a bunch of booth babes and Computex staff lined the main entrance, screaming enthusiastic welcomes to visitors."
Another report claims that one protestor held up a sign calling Steve Jobs a "bloodsucker." Although local police tried to keep the protest at bay, eventually it was allowed to continue and fizzle out, ending about an hour after it originally began. However Lennon Ying-Dah Wong, general secretary of the First Commercial Bank Industrial Union, offered his opinion before moving on.
“They are at the peak of this industry," he said, referring to the companies residing within the convention center. "They have earned a tremendous amount of money, but they don’t care about the social responsibility, they don’t care about the working condition of the workers. In many of their plants it’s a sweatshop, and we are very sad to see modern sweatshops."