Arrested, missing China activists spark criticism of Trump

Geneva Matthews
June 1, 2017

Hua works for China Labor Watch, a New York-based group that investigates violations of workers' rights.

The advocacy group had reportedly been planning to issue a report next month that claims the factory takes part in low pay, excessive overtime, and worker mistreatment, according to The Washington Post.

According the Associated Press, Hua Haifeng was arrested and accused of illegal surveillance. Two of his colleagues, Li Zhao and Su Heng, are also missing and are feared detained. The Ivanka Trump brand manufactures 10,000 to 20,000 pairs of shoes at the factory each year, and came under scrutiny for the working conditions there in April.

The activists took jobs between March and May at two factories run by Chinese shoe manufacturer Huajian Group - one in Jiangxi and the other in Guangdong - in order to investigate labor practices at the company, Li said.

Huajian Group and the Ivanka Trump brand did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

While Trump in January pledged to "buy American", US Customs bills of lading examined by AFP revealed that more than 50 tonnes of Ivanka Trump-branded items were streaming towards American ports from China even as he spoke.

"Activists exposing potential human rights abuses deserve protection not persecution from the authorities", said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

"Ivanka's brand should immediately cease its work with this supplier, and the Trump administration should reverse its current course and confront China on its human rights abuses", Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said in a Wednesday email.

"In 17 years (since our organisation was founded), we have done countless such investigations and have never had any problems", China Labor Watch director Li Qiang told AFP. Bustle has reached out to the Ivanka Trump brand for comment. They make millions more for others, including Coach and Nine West. Two other shoe brands under the company's umbrella - Marc Fisher and Kylie + Kendall - were also being made at the Huaijian factories, according to China Labor Watch.

Police said they believed alcohol was a contributing factor in the crash.

"The accusation from Jiangxi police has no factual basis", he said.

Deng says she has not informed the couple's two young children, her own parents or Hua's, about the incident. But they seem to know anyway, she said.

Deng said the news came as a shock. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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