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Activist Seeks Trumps' Help in Freeing Labor Investigators in China

Activist Seeks Trumps' Help in Freeing Labor Investigators in China

The three men were planning to publish a report in collaboration with the China Labor Watch, a New York-based nonprofit, after documenting low pay and excessive overtime at this particular factory. Two of his colleagues, Li Zhao and Su Heng, are also missing and they too are believed to have been detained. The company manufacturers about 100,000 pairs of Trump-branded shoes a year out of its production of 8 million pairs a year, including Coach and Alain Delon, the company said. Ivanka Trump is the daughter of the president and an adviser to him, and she has a direct financial interest in having her businesses maintain an upstanding reputation.

Amnesty International has demanded the release of all the three activists, saying the two missing may have also been detained, the report added.

Hua Haifeng was working undercover for the US-based China Labor Watch (CLW), which said he had witnessed examples of forced overtime and wage violations. "Jiangxi police are just looking for an excuse", he said. And, she says, she backs her husband 100 percent.

Hua Haifeng disappeared sometime Sunday while en route to the Huajian International shoe factory in southern China's Jiangxi province.

Trump lambasted Beijing over its trade practices during the U.S. presidential campaign, but he has established a friendly rapport with President Xi Jinping since they met at the United States leader's Mar-a-Lago resort in April along with Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

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"I was scared when the police called me, I was shaking with a mix of fear and anger, " Deng told the Guardian.

China Labor Watch has been exposing poor working conditions at suppliers to some of the world's best-known companies for almost two decades, but Li said his work has never before attracted this level of scrutiny from China's state security apparatus.

"It is unclear whether the undercover investigative methods used by the advocacy group are legal in China", the report said.

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

"Activists exposing potential human rights abuses deserve protection not persecution", said William Nee, the group's China researcher.

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In his view, the unusual action by the Chinese police appeared to be a response to his group's decision to investigate a manufacturing operation related to President Trump's family.

Trump himself has been granted dozens of trademarks in China since becoming president, and relatives of Jared Kushner, an advisor to the president, were recently caught trying to entice wealthy investors into luxury developments, with the prospect of receiving USA green cards in return.

There's nothing to suggest that Ivanka Trump has any connection to what happened to the China Labor Watch investigators.

White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks referred questions to Ms Trump's brand. Mr Li said the group's work had in 17 years never attracted this kind of scrutiny from state security.

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