China frees 3 activists who probed Ivanka Trump supplier
Jun 28 2017 by Desiree Burns
Three activists who were detained last month while investigating working conditions at a Chinese factory making Ivanka Trump-branded shoes have been released on bail pending a trial, their non-governmental organisation said Wednesday.
The executive director of China Labor Watch, a New York-based nonprofit, said he lost contact with Haifeng and the other two men, Li Zhao and Su Heng and concluded after dozens of unanswered calls: "They must be held either by the factory or the police to be unreachable".
The three activists walked out of a police station in Ganzhou, a city in southeastern Jiangxi province, on Wednesday, the final day of their legally mandated 30-day detention period limit.
The brand of Ivanka Trump does not produce directly in China, but has entrusted a part of its production to companies that manufacture in this country of clothes, shoes or handbags.
A spokesman for the company told AFP in October that it had made about 100,000 pairs of Ivanka Trump-branded shoes over the years.
According to CLW, the three men had discovered that two factories of Huajian required their employees to work overtime and paid at wages below the legal minimum. All three spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, for fear of retribution or arrest.
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"There was a lot of blood", said one former worker, who quit the job over its long hours and low pay.
They are accused of using bugging and eavesdropping devices during the investigation. "I'm happy to be out", he said.
The activists' lawyers said their actions were not criminal and they hoped Chinese courts would conduct a fair trial, the USA -based China Labor Watch said.
In comments to the AP, the Huajian Group declined to respond to specific questions, but broadly denied all allegations, calling them "completely not true to the facts, taken out of context, exaggerated".