back to article Almost two-thirds of SMIC's Shanghai employees are living at work

Over 60 percent of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation's (SMIC) Shanghai staff are living around the factory campus, in accordance with the ongoing city-wide COVID lockdown, the Chinese semiconductor foundry confirmed this week. The workers in the eastern Pudong district's Zhangjiang complex, an area known as …

  1. Natalie Gritpants Jr

    So, are they homing from work?

    1. innominatus

      You can clock in but you cannot leave

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Keep on trucking...

    Sounds like the feudal system is alive and well...

    "The Truck System of paying wages relates to the practice of paying workers in script, or tokens, rather than legal money, for their labour. During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was a wide-spread practice in the world, and still exists in some areas today."

    What next? A global pandemic.. global war.... oh, right...

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Keep on trucking...

      Most businesses are feudal in structure. They have bosses and 'underlings', and some bosses are also underlings, but in general there is very little, if any, 'democracy' even at shareholders' meetings. (In some UK companies even a vote at a shareholders' meeting does not affect director remuneration as that is controlled by their friends on the, sorry the completely independent and objective, remuneration committee.)

      However, companies have to be careful about paying in company 'script', as the taxation authorities are very keen for everyone (ok, 'the little people') to pay their taxes, so script needs to be relatable to the local legal tender.

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: feudal system

      You don't have to go back to the feudal system to look to this, as with so much in today's "Modern world" you only have to go back to the 1800's.

      The coal mines, textile, and slaughterhouse industries of the mid to late-1800's had "factory towns" or even 'convenient worker housing' practically on-top of the factories. As Upton Sinclair wrote in 1906's "The Jungle", keep the workers constantly struggling to maintain their jobs by constantly "speeding up" the workflow; paying the absolute minimum, just enough to keep a worker's head above water if they work 70 hours a week; and constantly importing new, and therefore, cheaper labor to pressure and push out older / higher-paid legacy workers.

      All sound familiar?

  3. jmch Silver badge


    "Residents, including drivers ... are confined to their homes... The government has delivered vegetable boxes to registered residents"

    So delivery drivers who live in Shanghai are quarantined, and the Chinese government uses some other different party-approved delivery drivers, because presumably Shanghai-based delivery drivers can transmit Covid while party-approved delivery drivers don't??

    Also, quarantine is usually 10 days to 2 weeks, but the lockdown is going on for over 4 weeks???

    Eh, whatever, I'm sure the CCP knows what it's doing \sarc

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: WTF???

      I can only assume that they're trying to contain a outbreak of the rage, not covid.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: WTF???

      Also, quarantine is usually 10 days to 2 weeks, but the lockdown is going on for over 4 weeks

      Because covid keeps spreading despite the lockdown. Presumably it is spreading because people inside the apartment buildings are visiting with each other, or it is spreading through the building's shared ventilation.

      Omicron / BA.2 is simply too virulent for zero covid to be possible. It worked well for them with lesser variants, but at some point they are going to have to recognize reality and admit zero covid is no longer possible with the variants we are now faced with.

      1. thames

        Re: WTF???

        There isn't one big lockdown across the whole city. The city is divided into districts and different levels of control are applied to different areas depending upon the local infection rate.

        So in some areas people are not allowed to leave their homes while in other areas they are, but are limited in the size of gatherings. Movement between districts is controlled.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: WTF???

        " at some point they are going to have to recognize reality and admit zero covid is no longer possible"

        Absolutely this. Since omicron isn't just more virulent than other variants but also less severe, might as well let it run freely and forget about quarantine at all. At some point enough people will have built-up natural immunity that it will just recede into the background noise like a severe cold.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: WTF???

          Letting it run rampant won't work, they'll fill their hospitals up. Less severe doesn't mean not severe, just a lower percentage of people experience severe symptoms or death. But if enough people are infected, you still see way too many people get sick and way too many people die.

          There are plenty of levels between "full lockdown" and "let the virus run freely".

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: WTF???

      I believe the delivery drivers they're using, as well as many of the people enforcing the restrictions and administering tests, were brought in from other cities. This makes it easier for the government to monitor those people authorized to move in districts that have the strictest lockdowns and to test those people more often. It does not prevent them from adding to the problem, but as Shanghai is larger than a lot of countries, the problem already is in an untenable state and none of the patches the government is going to use will do much.

  4. doublelayer Silver badge

    Closed loop, very practical

    If you put thousands of people together in one factory, you aren't going to achieve a viable quarantine. I don't think they're going to get that by making people stay at home either, but at least in that case, the virus has only a few people to infect before it runs out of targets. A factory where people are constantly interacting allows spread with some ease and it will need to frequently exchange people and items with the outside, so there's also plenty of ways for the virus to get into that system. The at-home quarantines are at least plausible, though impractical and unethical. The factory ones are just stupid.

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