Activists investigating Ivanka Trump shoe factory are detained in China

One man has been arrested and two others are missing after investigating working conditions at a Chinese company that produces Ivanka Trump-brand shoes, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

But China Labor Watch's executive director Li Qiang said that it was the first time in 17 years of investigations spanning hundreds of factories that their activists have been arrested by police.

Li Zhao and Hua Haifeng were blocked from leaving mainland China for Hong Kong in April and May - something that had never happened to his colleagues before, Li said.

In a letter sent to Ivanka Trump in April, the group alleged a number of labour violations at two unnamed factories that supplies the Ivanka Trump brand, including that employees were forced to work at least 12-1/2 hours a day for wages below China's legal minimum - a monthly salary equivalent to about one U.S. dollar an hour.

The president of her brand, Abigail Klem, said the company could not respond to the watchdog's claims because they were provided with no specific evidence, but that they complied with labor regulations in China.

The supplier also makes products for other brands including Karl Lagerfeld, Coach and Nine West, it said.

Ivanka Trump's lifestyle brand imports most of its merchandise from China, trade data show.

"The trio appear to be the latest to fall foul of the Chinese authorities" aggressive campaign against human rights activists who have any ties to overseas organisations, using the pretence of "national security, '" said William Nee, China researcher at the human rights group.

Ivanka Trump is US President Donald Trump's daughter and a White House adviser. The Ivanka Trump brand declined to comment for this story Tuesday. Two other shoe brands under the company's umbrella - Marc Fisher and Kylie + Kendall - were also being made at the Huaijian factories, according to China Labor Watch.

Deng Guilian, Hua's wife, told AFP her husband had planned to return to their home for a holiday earlier this week. Deng says she has not informed her or Hua's parents or their two young children about the incident to keep from upsetting them.

They included employees working for as many as 18 hours a day for pay below the minimum wage, he said.

Both factories produced Ivanka Trump-branded shoes, Li Qiang said. Hua Haifeng was stopped at the border May 25 and later questioned by police, Li said.

Skeens and Jordan were reportedly arguing when Jordan punched Skeens and grabbed the steering wheel.

Deng said the news came as a shock.

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