The men investigating the working conditions at the factory that makes, among other products, Ivanka Trump’s shoe line, have either been arrested or have gone missing.
One of the three men has been arrested while the other two have gone missing. While there is currently no evidence to point the finger at Donald Trump, or even his buddy Vladimir Putin, this does bode badly for BLOTUS in other ways.
First, the facts of the story, from CBS News:
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.
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.” Officials at the Public Security Bureau in Ganzhou would not confirm to CBS News if Hua was detained, but his wife was made aware of the charge Tuesday afternoon.
China Labor Watch is an American human rights organization that tracks workplace abuses in China. They were planning on publishing a report about the factory’s low wages, excessive overtime and alleged misuse of interns, next month. They have been investigating Chinese factories for 17 years, and they say that it’s never been more of a political hotbed than it is now. This is the first time that their investigators have gone missing or have been detained.
While this does sound like some Putinesque tactics, it’s pretty much indicative of any strong arm dictator. The Chinese ruling Communist Party is feeling especially vulnerable right now and they’re cracking down on all sorts of threats to the party.
We may never know whether these men were targeted because it’s the factory that makes Ivanka Trump’s shoes, but we do know that Trump has an affinity for dictators and has even expressed that he had “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It also raises a lot of questions as to why this particular factory, one that manufactures shoes for the daughter of the American President, was targeted.
We also know that thanks to China, Trump is about to get a lot richer. In February, the Chinese government approved 38 trademarks that Trump had been seeking for almost a year. They had been held up thanks to Once he became president, the process seemed to move rather quickly. Trump has also softened his stance toward China from what it was on the campaign trail. While still a candidate, Trump accused China of manipulating currency.
There are four possibilities here: The Chinese are solely behind it, the Russians are behind it, or Trump is behind it, which is pretty much the same as the Russians being behind it, or it was a collaboration. When you follow the money, there are two clear losers when the violations are reported. While no one is accusing Trump of orchestrating this (is he smart enough, anyway?), he, along with the Chinese government both benefit from this report not being released. For both Trumps, it might just be a happy coincidence.
Featured image via Sean Gallup/Getty Images.