Hua Haifeng and two colleagues from New York-based China Labor Watch were held in jail for 30 days in China for investigating labor abuses.
They were investigating factories owned by the Huajian Group in the southern Chinese cities of Ganzhou and Dongguan. The factories had been accused of various labor violations including low wages, excessive overtime, verbal abuse of workers, and the possible misuse of student labor.
They used to make shoes for Ivanka Trump, among others. The company said the Trump contract had long been over.
Hua, who lives in China, has worked for non-governmental organizations for about a decade, according to his wife. He mainly investigated labor abuses.
China Labor Watch director Li Qiang said that the three did not have any illegal eavesdropping equipment. They might have been recording with their cell phones.
The trio was seized on Saturday, May 28, and held incommunicado for four days. Then Hua’s wife was informed that her husband was in detention.
Hua Haifeng’s wife, Deng Guimian, says she was harassed and interrogated by men claiming to be local police, though they refused to show badges. The men also searched her house without showing a warrant.
She says was coerced, through threats of detention, into signing off on a police report saying nothing wrong had been done during the search or interrogation.