FORTUNE -- The Agence France Press headline that moved over the business wires Saturday morning seemed like deja vu all over again:
Citing only a statement issued by China Labor Watch in New York, the news agency reported that the deaths occurred at a Foxconn factory in the central city of Zhengzhou and included a 30-year-old married man who died on May 14, a 23-year-old woman (April 27) and a 24-year-old man (April 24).
And it wasn't until two days later, when the Wall Street Journal reported Foxconn's version of events, that we learned that two of the suicides occurred outside the company's property and were not, according to Foxconn, work-related.
As for the third victim -- the 24-year-old man who died on April 24 -- he didn't work for the company at all. He had, however, applied for a job at Foxconn. As if that makes a difference.
Although the Journal is to be commended for following up, we note that as far as it's concerned, Apple is the only company that matters -- or at least the only one worth mentioning -- when bad things happen in a Foxconn factory town.
As Macworld's Michael Kan once put it: "Foxconn builds products for many vendors, but its mud sticks to Apple."
It's not a pressure-cooker environment that is the problem, but boredom and alienation
"The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm."
That's Auret van Heerden, president of the Fair Labor Association, speaking to Reuters after an initial visit to the Foxconn factory where Apple's (AAPL) iPads are built.
Apple has been hit with a barrage of criticism over the working conditions in the Chinese factories where its MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 15, 2012 2:58 PM ET
Two weeks after a fatal explosion, it's business as usual at Foxconn's factory in Chengdu.
After an explosion in a Chinese factory that makes iPads for Apple (AAPL) killed three workers and injured 15 more, one analyst estimated that Apple's quarterly iPad production numbers might fall by as much as 2.8 million units -- speculation that helped drive the company's shares down more than 1.5% that day.
Two weeks later, it's clear MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 2, 2011 11:10 AM ET
The explosion that killed three in Chengdu on Friday has been traced to a dust-collecting duct
There were several developments over the weekend following the explosion that killed three and injured 15 in a factory in southwest China that builds iPads for Apple (AAPL). (See Inside the Apple iPad factory.)
The third death was confirmed. Six of the injured have been sent home. The rest are still hospitalized.
The blast was traced to MORE
''I'm as proud of the factory as I am of the computer,'' Steve Jobs told Fortune 18 years ago, describing the 40,000-square-foot plant he had constructed in Fremont, Calif., to manufacture circuit boards for his ill-fated NeXT, the $10,000 workstation into which Jobs poured his heart and soul after he was forced out of Apple (AAPL) in 1985.
The factory, as Jobs described it, had everything: robots, lasers, tolerances within one MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 5, 2008 7:23 AM ET
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