Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

China frees 3 activists who probed Ivanka Trump supplier

China frees 3 activists who probed Ivanka Trump supplier

The advocacy group says it has documentation of worker abuse, and says it sent letters to Ivanka Trump and her brand, as well as several other companies that have used the factories. The sign reads "visitors please exit the vehicle and register, people without relevant reasons can not enter this important factory area".

One of the activists, Hua Haifeng, was clearly relieved as he held his 3-year-old son outside the police station in Ganzhou, a city in southeastern Jiangxi province. They had been looking into labor violations for China Labor Watch, a NY nonprofit that has been investigating Ivanka Trump's Chinese suppliers for more than a year.

The group said that between March and May, the three activists entered the Dongguan Huajian and Jiangxi Huajian factories, which have manufactured shoes for Ivanka Trump.

China Labor Watch said it hopes the Chinese courts "will provide the investigators with a fair trial".

Hua and two other activists - Su Heng and Li Zhao - disappeared or were detained in late May.

The U.S. State Department, which had called for China to release the men, had no immediate comment.

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China has strengthened considerably since 2015 its treatment of the activists of the rights of workers, in a country that prohibits independent trade union activity.

The Associated Press talked with three former workers at the plant who described how a worker was left "bleeding right from the middle of the head" after being repeatedly bludgeoned by the manager - and they said that beatings within the factory were "not unheard of".

"Other nations have no right to interfere in our judicial sovereignty and independence", she said, adding, "the police found these people illegally possessed secret cameras, secret listening devices and other illegal monitoring devices". "I'm happy to be out", he said.

Li has said his group does not seek to profit from any of its probes, including the Ivanka Trump-related investigations.

The organization says the factories made shoes for the Ivanka Trump brand, along with Marc Fisher, Kylie + Kendall, Coach and other brands.

Hua declined further comment but said he had not been mistreated.

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