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Tesco Breaks Off With Chinese Supplier Of Cards Which Allegedly Used Forced Prison Labour


Tesco Breaks Off With Chinese Supplier Of Cards Which Allegedly Used Forced Prison Labour
After a press report about foreign prisoners who were victims of forced labour, were used for packaging Christmas cards made by a Chinese factory, the British supermarket giant Tesco suspended ties with the Chinese supplier on Sunday. The matter came to light after a customer of the cards found this incident as a written message inside one of the cards purchased.
“We abhor the use of prison labour and would never allow it in our supply chain,” a Tesco spokesman said on Sunday. “We were shocked by these allegations and immediately suspended the factory where these cards are produced and launched an investigation.”
Every year, about £300,000 or $390,000 from the sale of the cards is donated by Tesco to the charities British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK.
“We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu Prison China. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organisation. Use the link to contact Mr Peter Humphrey,” read the message inside the card according to a report published in The Sunday Times.
Peter Humphrey is a British former journalist and corporate fraud investigator.
It was “shocked by these allegations”, said Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco.
Charges of obtaining private records of Chinese citizens illegally and then selling the data to clients including drug maker GlaxoSmithKline had been brought against Humphrey and his American wife Yu Yingzeng in China who were then sent to jail in 214. After their jail terms were reduced, the couple were deported from China in June 2015.
The Sunday Times said that a six-year-old girl, Florence Widdicombe, in London, found the message in the card. Humphrey was contacted by her father via the LinkedIn social network.
the identities or the nationalities of the prisoners who put the note into the card were not known to him, said Humphrey in a n article in The Sunday Times. He however said that he “had no doubt they are Qingpu prisoners who knew me before my release in June 2015 from the suburban prison where I spent 23 months”.
It had a comprehensive auditing process in place, said Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer,
“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 labour. If a supplier breaches these rules, we will immediately and permanently delist them,” said a spokesman for the company.
According to a report by Sky News, the Zheijiang Yunguang Printing factory, which is about 100km (60 miles) from Shanghai Qingpu prison, was where the cards were produced.
The Chinese company under the scanner claims in its website that it supplies Tesco and is also engaged in printing cards and books for food and pharmaceutical companies.
Humphrey and his wife said in their trial they had not thought they were doing anything illegal in their activities in China.