China Apple Store employee explains iPhone 7
A company in Henan province has forbidden its employees from buying the iPhone 7 and is asking them to support Chinese goods instead Reuters

A company in Nanyang City, Henan province, in China has officially banned all its staff from buying the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, and is threatening to sack any employee found to have purchased the Apple products.

The memo, signed off by the firm's administrative department, reads: "The American iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have been launched and official prices are between 5,388 to 6,388 yuan [£624 to £740]. As the internal storage capacity increases, the price of the mobile phone also rises accordingly.

"According to our managing director's orders, all our employees are strictly forbidden to purchase and to use iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Anyone found disobeying this order must immediately resign from the company.

"Beloved colleagues, if our finances are healthy and our economic conditions allow it, please let us take better care of our parents' health, be more concerned about our children's upbringing, be more aware of how precious life is, more involved in our country's welfare. Only if we do this, can we ensure long-term prosperity and happiness. Do not waste your effort on those luxuries that will only squeeze our hard earned money dry.

"Today, 18 September, is a day that all Chinese people will never forget. Never forget our national humiliation, make sure to remember your history. Boycotting foreign products needs to start with you.

"We cannot go to the battlefield to protect our country, but we will work hard in our own capacity and in our designated positions. In our daily lives, we must boycott products from Japan and the US. Use your actions to support our own goods, as only if you have a nation, can you have a home.

Please take special notice of this memo and be sure to abide by it."

Employees asked to remember China's defeat in the hands of the Japanese

Japanese troops invade during Mukden Incident
Japanese troops invade Shenyang during the Mukden Incident in September 1931 Wikimedia Commons

The memo, which includes the company's official stamp, has gone viral on Chinese social networks after a photo was leaked by an employee. It has been the cause of much debate, according to Chinese state media.

While some people have applauded the company for its tough stance on foreign products and its patriotic views, others point out that it is a violation of the country's labour laws and no one should be allowed to set out what a person can or cannot buy.

The significance of 18 September that the company mentions in its message refers to an important date in China's history, referred to as the Mukden Incident. On 18 September 1931, members of the Imperial Japanese Army deliberately detonated a small amount of dynamite close to a Japanese-owned South Manchuria Railway line in present-day Shenyang.

The Japanese used the incident as a plot to accuse Chinese dissidents of terrorism, in order to justify the Japanese invasion of north-eastern China, which lasted until February 1932.

The incident led to a bitter enmity between the two countries as Chinese people living overseas raised funds for the war effort, and this led to the Japanese treating the Chinese especially badly during the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia in WWII, when Japan invaded Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines, East Timor and Laos.