Activists investigating Ivanka Trump shoe factory are detained in China

Angie Massey
June 4, 2017

Labor activist Hua Haifeng (華海峰) was arrested in Jiangxi Province on suspicion of illegally using eavesdropping equipment, China Labor Watch executive director Li Qiang (李強) said.

The relationship between the Trump family and China has received widespread attention since last year's presidential campaign.

Still, labor abuses in China go much deeper that Ivanka Trump brand shoes, applying to numerous household products that USA consumers purchase on a daily basis. "That's why they have elaborate social responsibility programs created to insulate them from reputational damage related to the working conditions in the factories they use", Nova says. It also makes millions more for others, including Coach and Nine West.

The three activists were working undercover at a factory in the province of Jiangxi, Bloomberg reported.

SHANGHAI (AP) - A Chinese company that makes shoes for Ivanka Trump and other brands denied allegations Thursday of excessive overtime and low wages made by three activists who have been arrested or disappeared.

China has seen frequent crackdowns on labour rights activists and rights lawyers in recent years, with campaigners being harassed, arrested or jailed.

But Li said it's the first time in 17 years of investigating labor rights violations in China that any of China Labor Watch's investigators had been detained by police.

The China Labor Watch is a New York-based non-profit organization.

"We appeal to President Trump, Ivanka Trump herself, and to her related brand company to advocate and press for the release of our activists".

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Hua's wife Deng Guilian, said she had not spoken to her husband since Sunday.

Analysts say China's government has not hesitated to avail itself of the back channel to the White House provided by Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.

KUHN: China Labor Watch says two of Hua's colleagues are also missing and presumed detained.

China has a reputation for cracking down aggressively on labor activists and human rights groups, especially under the notably authoritarian rule of Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Trump is only one of the retailers that sell products made in the plant, but her unique position as the daughter of the USA president has raised questions about the motivations of Chinese officials.

During their final phone conversation on Saturday, Mr Hua told Mr Li that police had asked him to stop investigating the Huajian factory - something Mr Li said was unprecedented.

All three activists were looking into labor conditions at the shoe factories in Huajian, China for China Labor Watch, a NY based workers' rights nonprofit. A White House spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

She said she was notified of his arrest, but not where he was being held, on Tuesday in a phone call from a Jiangxi public security bureau. The use of student workers in China is legal, but meant to be strictly regulated.

But their harsher than usual treatment also raises fears that Chinese authorities are punishing the men for exposing President Trump, whose family business links to China remain under the spotlight.

Other reports by GizPress

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