News & Politics

Chinese Activists Probing Ivanka Trump's Factories Have Gone Missing

Two men were looking into labor abuses at an Ivanka Trump clothing factory in China. They've since disappeared.

Photo Credit: lev radin / Shutterstock

Two Chinese activists who were investigating a factory that supplies Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand have gone missing, while a third was arrested, according to a report by the Associated Press. All three men were associated with China Labor Watch and in the midst of an investigation into alleged labor abuses committed by the Huajian Group factories in a pair of southern Chinese cities, Dongguan and Ganzhou.

The activists include Hua Haifeng, whose wife Deng Guilian claims that police told her he was arrested on suspicion of illegal surveillance, as well as Li Zhao and Su Heng.

Although Abigail Klem of the Ivanka Trump brand claims that the company requires its manufacturers to “comply with all applicable laws and to maintain acceptable working conditions,” China Labor Watch claims that its three activists had been compiling evidence of a number of labor abuses at their aforementioned factories. These included forcing employees to work excessive overtime hours, sometimes up to 18 hours each day; paying wages below the minimum established by Chinese law; and forcing student interns to not only work excessive hours, but to do so in areas that had nothing to do with their chosen fields of study.

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According to a report by The Guardian, China Labor Watch executive director Li Qjang said he believes his activists “were detained because this factory makes products for Ivanka Trump, so now this situation has become political and very complicated. I appeal to President Trump, Ivanka Trump herself, and to her brand to advocate and press for the release our activists.”

China has awarded both Trumps a number of trademarks since Donald Trump was elected to the presidency last year, including one for apparel as recently as last week.

 

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon.