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Apple factory brawl? Rioting at Foxconn plant delays production.

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Reuters

(Read caption) Workers clean up glass shards from the broken windows of a security room at Foxconn Tech-Industry Park in Taiyuan, China. Riots consumed the Foxconn campus in Taiyuan on Sunday.

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In the US, the iPhone 5 has launched to blockbuster sales. In Taiyuan, a city in northern China, rioting has consumed a plant operated by Foxconn, a Taiwanese company that provides parts for many Apple products.

According to the BBC, the riots stemmed from a "personal dispute" in a Foxconn dormitory; by late Sunday evening, the fighting had spilled into the surrounding streets (see photo above).

The BBC reports that over 5,000 police officers were sent to Taiyuan, effectively ending the riots. 40 people were reportedly injured in the fighting, three critically. It remains unclear whether the Taiyuan Foxconn plant was a major Apple supplier; speaking to the New York Times, a Foxconn spokesman would say only that the factory "supplied goods to many consumer electronics brands." (Foxconn works with a wide range of companies, including Sony and Amazon.) 

"The cause of this dispute is under investigation by local authorities and we are working closely with them in this process, but it appears not to have been work-related," Foxconn reps told Reuters. 

Production at the plant, which employs just under 80,000 workers, was suspended on Monday. 

In March of this year, a month after the Times published a damning report on conditions in Foxconn factories, Apple CEO Tim Cook paid a visit to a plant in China. "China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth there," Apple spokesperson Carolyn Wu said at the time. 

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