Men Probing Ivanka Trump Brand in China Arrested, Missing

Men Probing Ivanka Trump Brand in China Arrested, MissingMen Probing Ivanka Trump Brand in China Arrested, Missing

The arrest and disappearance of three labor activists investigating a Chinese company that produces Ivanka Trump-branded shoes in China prompted a call for her brand to cease working with the supplier and raised questions about whether the first family’s commercial interests would muddy US leadership on human rights.

The men were working with a US nonprofit to publish a report next month alleging low pay, excessive overtime and possible misuse of student labor, according to China Labor Watch Executive Director Li Qiang who lost contact with the investigators over the weekend, AP reported.

The arrest and disappearances come amid a crackdown on perceived threats to the stability of China’s ruling Communist Party, particularly from sources with foreign ties such as China Labor Watch.

Faced with rising labor unrest and a slowing economy, Beijing has taken a stern approach to activism in southern China’s manufacturing belt and to human rights advocates generally, sparking a wave of critical reports about disappearances, public confessions, forced repatriation and torture in custody.

China Labor Watch’s investigation also had an unusual target: a brand owned by the daughter of the president of the United States.

“Ivanka’s brand should immediately cease its work with this supplier and the Trump administration should reverse its current course and confront China on its human rights abuses,” Adrienne Watson, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said in a Wednesday email.

One of the investigators, Hua Haifeng, was accused of illegal surveillance, according to his wife, Deng Guilian, who said the police called her Tuesday afternoon.

Deng said the caller told her she didn’t need to know the details, only that she would not be able to see, speak with or receive money from her husband, the family’s breadwinner.

AP was unable to reach the other investigators’ families. China’s Ministry of Public Security and police could not be reached for comment Tuesday, which was a national holiday in China. Calls went unanswered Wednesday morning.

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