10 months ago
Two Chinese labor activists have mysteriously disappeared not long after they launched an investigation into factories tied to Ivanka Trump’s shoe brand.
New York-based advocacy group, China Labor Watch, told reporters that two of its investigators were unreachable Wednesday. Another activist, Hua Haifeng, was arrested and accused of using illegal surveillance equipment in Jiangxi province, according to Reuters.
The three men were looking into allegations of labor violations by a company that manufactures footwear sold by the First Daughter’s brand, among other Western companies.
China’s human rights reputation is troubled to say the least, but Wednesday’s allegations are part of a further crackdown on freedoms and civil liberties under President Xi Jinping. Reuters reports that many other labor activists have been intimidated, detained for short periods of time, or had their movements limited.
Appeals from the advocacy group to President Trump and his daughter Ivanka were unanswered, while the fashion brand declined to comment on the matter.
China Labor Watch‘s executive director Li Qiang told Reuters that “this is the first time we’ve come across this kind of situation” in his 17 years of activism in China.