From The Washington Post (Editorial Board):
IVANKA TRUMP’S conflicts of interest as a White House adviser already included the dependence of her clothing brand on Chinese manufacturers even as she and her husband participate in White House meetings with senior Chinese officials. Now a new and more troubling connection has come up: Authorities have moved to silence labor activists who were documenting poor working conditions at the factories that make Ivanka Trump shoes.
According to China Labor Watch, a U.S.-based advocacy organization, one of its investigators has been arrested and two others have disappeared after they probed working conditions at two factories of Huajian International, a shoe manufacturer that produces about 100,000 pairs a year for the Ivanka Trump brand. An interim report issued by the nongovernmental organization last month said it had documented working shifts as long as 18 hours and pay that in some cases was less than the equivalent of $1 an hour.
No doubt Ms. Trump, who has turned over management over her clothing line to others, had nothing to do with this crackdown. But the founder of China Labor Watch told The Post’s Simon Denyer that he thinks authorities acted because of the factories’ connection to Ms. Trump. In 17 years of monitoring factories — including firms producing goods for Apple and Samsung — his investigators had never before been arrested.
Ms. Trump may suppose that her recusal from her company — she retains her ownership interest — means she is immune from favors from foreign governments seeking advantage inside the White House. But the regime of Xi Jinping doesn’t seem to see it that way. On the same day that Ms. Trump helped to host Mr. Xi at the Mar-a-Lago estate, China’s patent office granted her company a number of trademarks. Now the regime is trying to stifle embarrassing reports about how her company, far from heeding President Trump’s exhortation to “hire American,” is depending on the crude exploitation of Chinese workers.
Huajian, by the way, is not the only Trump contractor in China caught abusing its employees. The Post’s Drew Harwell reported in April that a factory used by the G-III Apparel Group, which makes dresses, blouses and other clothes for the Ivanka Trump brand, keeps workers on the line for nearly 60 hours a week for wages of little more than $62.