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The case of Foxconn engineer Zhang Tingzhen, whose left brain was damaged in a factory accident last year, was heard at Longhua street labor arbitration tribunal in Shenzhen on Tuesday.
Zhang's plight came to light after it was reported that Taiwan firm Foxconn sent text messages to his family, saying it would stop paying for his treatment and other expenses if they did not remove him from a hospital in Shenzhen city and make arrangements for him to undergo a disability assessment 70 km away in Huizhou.
The focus of the dispute is whether Zhang's labor contract was signed with the Foxconn Shenzhen subsidiary Hongfujin Precision Industry or the Huizhou subsidiary Jizhun Precision Industry (Huizhou).
Zhang's father Zhang Guangde said his son had a job interview at the Longhua headquarters of Foxconn in July 2011 and worked there from August 2011 to the end of October 2011, when he was injured.
Zhang said his son never worked for the Foxconn Huizhou company.
If Zhang was a Huizhou company employee then Foxconn would not have to pay as much for his social security benefits and industrial injury compensation because the levels of compensation are lower there than in Shenzhen.
Doctors removed half of Zhang's brain to keep him alive, and he remains in a hospital under close observation, unable to speak or walk properly.
Li Yongjun, a representative of Hongfujin Precision Industry, denied that Zhang Tingzhen was an employee of Hongfujin. Li said Zhang signed a contract with the Huizhou company, and his salary and social security benefits were paid by that company.
Li said Foxconn can compensate Zhang Guangde according to the social security standards of Shenzhen although his son's contract was signed with the Huizhou subsidiary.
Li said Foxconn believed that court was not the best way to solve the matter.
"Foxconn wants to find a solution through mediation and consultation," Li said.
Zhang's lawyer Zhang Xiaotan didn't say how much his client is asking in compensation.
He said the first thing to do is "clear up the actual labor relationship".
The court furnished evidence showing that Zhang was hired in Shenzhen, the lawyer said after a three-hour court hearing.
"Our evidence includes hospital correspondence, notice of hospitalization, factory salary slips and colleague declarations. They all point to the time and place of his injury and his employment being in Shenzhen," the lawyer said.
Zhang Guangde, a farmer from Henan province, stood up and cursed at the tribunal, saying he wanted to "fight for dignity".
Reuters contributed to this story.
(China Daily 10/31/2012 page4)