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In this photo taken 2016 and released by Deng Guilian, Hua Haifeng is seen during a visit to a park in Chengde in central China's Hubei province. Hua has been arrested and another two have gone missing following their investigations into working conditions at a Chinese factory that produces Ivanka Trump-brand shoes, a family member and an advocacy group said Tuesday, May 30, 2017. China Labor Watch Executive Director Li Qiang said he lost contact with Hua Haifeng and the other two men, Li Zhao and Su Heng, over the weekend. By Tuesday, after dozens of unanswered calls, he had concluded: “They must be held either by the factory or the police to be unreachable.” (Deng Guilian via AP)

A Chinese company that made Ivanka Trump-branded shoes denied charges of labor violations


UPDATE 6/1, 6:33 a.m. EST: 

Huajian Group, a Chinese company whose factories produce Ivanka Trump-branded shoes, has denied allegations that workers are treated poorly on Thursday after three activists who had been investigating working conditions were reported missing on Wednesday. 

"We are shocked," Long Shan, a spokeswoman for the Huajian Group, wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "As a renowned global media outlet, you have put out many untrue reports not based on facts and without our consent."

Hua Haifeng, an investigator for rights group China Labor Watch was arrested for illegally surveilling factories, while his two coworkers Li Zhao and Su Heng are missing, leading rights groups to believe they may have been abducted.

Long said that the company had stopped producing Ivanka Trump-branded shoes months ago and that both Hua Haifeng and Su Heng joined different factories under the companies control, but then left a short time afterwards. She said she did not know their whereabouts.

ORIGINAL STORY: Three Chinese labor activists that investigated a company that produces Ivanka Trump-branded shoes have disappeared, prompting a call for the first daughter's brand to cut ties with the supplier. 

The men were working with a U.S. nonprofit to complete a report on misuse of student labor and low pay according to the Associated Press.

Their disappearances have also raised questions about whether the first family's commercial interests could interfere with U.S. stances on human rights. 

The nonprofit, China Labor Watch, has been working to uncover poor working conditions in China for over two decades. 

China Labor Watch executive director Li Qiang said that the company's work had never attracted this much attention from the Chinese state security organizations. 

He lost contact with investigators over the weekend. 

“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 to the Associated Press.

Ivanka Trump must decide, she added, “whether she can ignore the Chinese government’s apparent attempt to silence an investigation into those worker abuses.”

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