Investigations have started after a 6-year-old girl found a Christmas card with a handwritten message allegedly written by foreign prisoners used as slaves in a Chinese prison.
The message, written inside a card featuring a kitten in a Santa hat, read:
“We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organization.”
The message also urged anyone who found the message to get in touch with Peter Humphrey, a former British journalist who spent two years at the same Chinese prison on what he described as “bogus charges that were never heard in court.”
The girl’s family then got in contact with Humphrey. He described in the article how former prisoners confirmed to him that inmates in the foreigner prisoner unit are being “forced into mundane manual assembly or packaging tasks”—including packing Christmas cards for Tesco.
The jail is also located around 62 miles from the Zheijiang Yunguang Printing factory where the cards are said to be made.
The supermarket said they would cut off any ties they had with the Chinese supplier if they were found to have used forced labor and have suspended operations.
Tesco added that the supplier was recently checked by independent auditors who found no evidence of human rights abuse.
A Tesco spokesman told Sky News:
“We would never allow prison labor in our supply chain.
“We were shocked by these allegations and immediately halted production at the factory where these cards are produced and launched an investigation.
“We have a comprehensive auditing system in place and 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.
“If evidence is found we will permanently de-list the supplier.”