Tesco halts Christmas card factory after China inmate message

Tesco said they would permanently de-list the supplier if evidence points out that supplier uses prison labor. (File/AFP)
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Updated 22 December 2019

Tesco halts Christmas card factory after China inmate message

  • Tesco said they would not allow prison labor in their supply chain
  • The note encouraged the reader to seek “Mr Peter Humphrey”

LONDON: Supermarket giant Tesco said Sunday it has stopped production at a factory in China after one of its Christmas cards was found to contain a cry for help from a prisoner who made it.
The Sunday Times newspaper reported that a girl in south London had opened a card last weekend to find a message inside claiming to be from inmates at Shanghai’s Qingpu Prison.
“We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu Prison China,” said the message, in a Tesco charity card featuring a kitten in a Santa hat.
“Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organization.”
A spokeswoman for Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, said it was “shocked” at the news and had “immediately halted production at the factory where these cards are produced.”
“We would never allow prison labor in our supply chain,” she said, adding that an investigation had now been launched.
She said the company had a “comprehensive auditing system in place.”
“This supplier was independently audited as recently as last month and no evidence was found to suggest they had broken our rule banning the use of prison labor,” she said.
“If evidence is found we will permanently de-list the supplier.”
According to the Sunday Times, the note in the card — sold to raise money for charity — asked whoever received it to contact “Mr Peter Humphrey.”
The girl’s father searched for Humphrey online and discovered that he was a former journalist who had spent nine months in Qingpu.
He got in touch with Humphrey, who contacted some other ex-prisoners, who confirmed that foreign inmates had been backing cards for Tesco.
Humphrey then wrote up the story for The Times.
Humphrey and his wife Yu Yingzeng, a naturalized US citizen, ran an investigative firm hired by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Arrested in 2013 on suspicion of illegally obtaining private data, he confessed on Chinese state TV but later claimed he was forced to.
He and his wife were convicted in August 2014 and deported the following June.


Truck drives into US crowd protesting George Floyd killing, underscoring volatile situation

Updated 01 June 2020

Truck drives into US crowd protesting George Floyd killing, underscoring volatile situation

  • Protesters managed to stop the truck and beat up the driver, who was later arrested by police
  • A New York City Police car earlier drove into a crowd of protesters who were pelting it with objects

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota: A tanker truck drove through thousands of people marching on a Minneapolis highway to protest the death of George Floyd on Sunday before protesters dragged the driver from the cab and beat him, according to a Reuters witness and authorities.
It did not appear any of the marchers were injured when the truck raced toward them on I-35, blowing its horn, sending protesters scattering before coming to a stop, according to the witness and a tweet by the Minnesota Department of Public Security (MNDPS).
Police arrived soon after and arrested the truck driver, who was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, MNDPS said.
Video of the incident shows protesters swarming the vehicle before it comes to a stop.

Protesters hand over to police the driver of a tanker truck after he drove into a crowd marching on 35W north bound highway in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 31, 2020. (REUTERS/Eric Miller)

“The incident just underscores the volatile situation we have out there,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz told a news conference, adding he did not know the motives of the driver.
It marked the second incident in as many days of a vehicle driving at people protesting Floyd’s death after a New York City Police car was captured on video on Saturday driving into a crowd of protesters who were pelting it with objects.
“Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators,” MNDPS tweeted.
Video showed the truck had a logo on its side for “Kenan Advantage Group,” an Ohio-based transportation company.
The company said in a statement that it was informed of an incident involving one of its independent contractors in Minneapolis and it would be cooperating with investigating authorities.
MNDPS did not identify the driver but said the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were investigating the incident as a criminal matter.