The Last Graveyard Of Our Youth.1
by SM CADMAN
Chinese Worker Commits Suicide: Xu Lizhi’s Poem Mandarin/English
Nicholas was dead. A heart attack at the age of thirty-nine during a meeting with the Chinese about WireLurker. Young, smart, talented at investigating errant issues to do with internal leaks and cybercrime, I was still too shocked to make sense of it all. He was a self taught coder, a hacker we had hired after bringing several dangerous bugs to our attention. At that time, he had only just graduated high school. But he proved to be a very gifted Bug Bounty hunter early.
The authorities sent his body home, an autopsy and investigation were done. He had died of natural causes. I knew he was stressed, dealing with a divorce and a young kid at home. But I had no idea this job would push him over the limit. Nicholas had one of the internal employee newspapers on him. Probably visited the factory beforehand to track down the leak.
I emailed Wei-Dongfeng with the Loyalty Team in Shenzhen and asked him to scan me a copy of the newspaper. He told me Nicholas had circled a few poems and articles by one of the factory workers in the paper. I wasn’t exactly sure why. Perhaps someone there had translated some of his writing to him. I wouldn’t be able to understand it. I don’t speak Chinese but I knew Wei-Dongfeng would be able to translate it.
“That was the ninth suicide there. Just awful,” Wei-Dongfeng said.
“But isn’t that a lucky number in China, nine?” I asked.
“Yes. Somewhat means, Long lasting, enduring.”
“He was the poet, you translated one of his poems too?”
“Yes. A talented one too. And yes I did. He was a country boy, only with a high school education but he was well read. Apparently always reading and writing. He came down from the north for work.”
“Well it certainly wasn’t the poet. It’s someone much higher up. They knew exactly what information to pass on to the malware writers. I think it’s state sponsored.”
“Do you think it’s come from the Maiyadi App Store?”
“Absolutely. Where do most Chinese get pirated apps from? It’s always there. Our security is too tight. But you can tell they’re experienced developers. The malware has been able to infect devices that aren’t jailbroken. Which concerns me the most… This is far too much for the Loyalty Team to handle.”
I read through the poem. I could understand now why Nicholas had been fascinated by Xu Lizhi. Perhaps he reminded him of himself when he was younger.
“He’s commenting on the suicides at the factory,” Wei-Dongfeng explained. “Some of his poetry is even prophetic.”
“Tragic. I’m sending a new investigative team out there tomorrow. I’ve got to go now but talk to you again soon,” I quickly ended the call.
I sat at my desk and just stared at my MacBook Pro. I tried not to cry. A message came through from Wei-Dongfeng on my iPhone.
“This was found on Xu Lizhi the night after he plunged to his death. Thought you might like to read it. It was written on a piece of notepaper found in his pocket. I’ve already translated his words. The message was this:
It doesn’t matter where I came from. My words are real and my story is true. I didn’t die as a factory worker who made your iPhone. I am a poet. I existed and died as one. I will continue to exist. My soul lives on through my poetry. The factory was my prison, but words were my deliverance. I am immortal because of words.“
I looked at the screen then stared out the window. I wiped my eyes and blew my nose. I turned off my mobile and looked around my office.
1Xu, Lizhi. Nao. “The Last Graveyard.” Poem by Xu Lizhi. Libcom.org, https://libcom.org/blog/xulizhi-foxconn-suicide-poetry. Accessed 15 December 2016.
2Screenshot. Xu, Lizhi. Nao. “A Screw Fell To The Ground.” Poem by Xu Lizhi. Libcom.org, https://libcom.org/blog/xulizhi-foxconn-suicide-poetry. Accessed 15 December 2016.
The haunting poetry of a Chinese factory worker who committed suicide by Ishaan Tharoor https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/11/12/the-haunting-poetry-of-a-chinese-factory-worker-who-committed-suicide/
The Poet Who Died For Your Phone http://time.com/chinapoet/
Collected Poetry by Xu Lizhi https://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2014/11/xu-lizhi-1990-2014-poet-and-foxconn-worker/
Foxconn Suicides https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn_suicides
5 Darkest Apple Secrets https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHZvrY2iVmc via @YouTube
What is WireLurker? Malware Attacking iPhones and iPads Through Your Mac http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/what-wirelurker-malware-attacking-iphones-ipads-through-your-mac-1473633
WireLurker: A New Age In Mac OSX, iOS Malware http://www.darkreading.com/attacks-breaches/wirelurker-a-new-age-in-mac-osx-ios-malware/d/d-id/1317259
Removing Wirelurker from Your iOS or OSX Device http://blog.trendmicro.com/trendlabs-security-intelligence/removing-wirelurker-from-your-ios-or-osx-device/
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. A short story created from headlines. The poetry of Xu Lizhi however is real and true. To find out more about him, please visit the links listed above.