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ABC News gets rare access to Apple’s troubled plants in China — will you watch?

ABC’s “Nightline” news program will air a special report Tuesday night that will give an “unprecedented” look into the Apple production lines at the troubled Foxconn plants in China. Labor conditions at the plants have drawn the ire of critics and Apple fans alike.

Apple, one of the most secretive companies in business today, has closely guarded the details about its production facilities that make its coveted iPhone and iPad mobile devices. After numerous negative reports about Foxconn, including several worker suicides, the dam broke in January with an extensive report by the New York Times that closely documented worker abuses. Apple responded by saying it would investigate abuses by the plants, and Foxconn agreed to raise worker wages by 16 to 25 percent. Foxconn also produces products for Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, and other major electronics companies.

The “Nightline” report will be one of the first times Apple and Foxconn have allowed any news organization tour the floor and get access with managers and workers. It will show off the conditions of half a dozen production lines of factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China.

“Nightline” anchor Bill Weir said that after years of denials, Apple finally gave him and ABC News the go-ahead to file a report from the Foxconn floor. He says that he doesn’t know exactly why he was picked but suggests it could be because:

• I’ve said nice things about their products on the air.
• ABC News is owned by the Disney Corporation and Disney CEO Bob Iger serves on the Apple Board of Directors
• The Steve Jobs Trust is Disney’s largest shareholder.
• They enjoy “Nightline.”

Apple said Weir would have full access to the plant but he would not be allowed to speak with CEO Tim Cook or long-time Apple VP Jony Ive about the facilities.

From ABC News’ early preview of the report, the most eye-opening part of the visit might very well be interviews with Foxconn workers. A look into the psyches of several workers shows how mind-numbing the job is: “I don’t think much about other things,” 26-year-old Liang Juan told Weir, “because the management is strict and we’re busy working and have no time to think about other things.”

ABC will air the “Nightline” report on Foxconn and Apple Tuesday night at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT. Will you stay up late to watch?

Foxconn factory video screenshot: ABC News

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