Let's face it, an explosion, suicides, reports of low pay for workers, don't add up to a pretty picture.
But should you feel guilty about buying Chinese-made technology?
We thought we'd mention this post over at Techcrunch, which argues that outrage about Chinese high-tech factories is a beatup. In it, the head of electronics company Kogan argues that claims of "sweatshop like conditions are patently false".
Given that Kogan products are made in these factories, you'd assume it would be in his interests to defend the use of these factories. Still, we thought it particularly relevant, because Kogan sells electronics from Chinese manufacturers to Australians on their web site.
We recommend heading over to Techcrunch to read the article in full, but it's one of the more spirited defences we've read of what's going on in electronics factories. As Ruslan Kogan states, "The people who are making the accusations of “exploitation” have obviously never visited China or spoken to any of the factory staff or are deliberately misleading readers."
While admitting that it's not "all glory", he argues that manufacturing is improving people's lives in China, and criticises "fear-mongering sermons from people sitting atop ivory towers with little experience in what they are talking about."
Interestingly, this story makes the case (not backed up by hard evidence) that efforts to regulate working hours, including limiting overtime, has upset workers, rather than making them happier, because they need the money.
None of which has slowed iPad sales.
Also read: The Facility: Photos inside high-tech factories