Hau Haifeng, a member of Chinese Labor Watch, was recently detained by the Chinese government along with two colleagues while investigating working conditions at the Huajian International shoe factory, the company responsible for making shoes for Ivanka Trump’s brand. Haifeng’s wife has issued a public plea for Ivanka to “say a few words” to “save the entire family.”
Chinese Labor Watch, a New York-based labor activist organization, was in the midst of producing a report to expose the factory’s long hours and low pay when the three men were detained. The founder of China Labor Watch, Li Qiang, called the move unprecedented.
“This never happened before in my 17 years’ experience. This is the first time. The only reason we think this case is different is that this is Ivanka Trump’s factory.”
While Ivanka has thus far stayed silent on the issue, a distraught Deng Guilian, Haifeng’s wife, has called on the President’s daughter to intervene.
“For her, it’s just a matter of a few words, but those few words would save the entire family. I beg her, on behalf of my families too, to be kind and let me husband to come home as soon as possible.”
Global Times, a Chinese state-run publication, has referred to Ivanka as the “most influential first daughter” whose “words and deeds are also believed to carry more weight.” She has wielded none of that influence, however, to defend an innocent man who was exposing the potentially illegal conditions in a factory that makes as many as 20,000 pairs of her brand’s shoes.
While Ivanka claims to be a “moderating force” to her father, she has time and time again proven that she is only willing to speak out if it benefits her financially. For example, a supposed “outspoken critic” of climate change, Ivanka did nothing to sway her father’s decision regarding the Paris Agreement. But when her words can truly enact change – and save an innocent man’s family – her silence is telling.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.