Six-year-old Florence Widdicombe found a note in a Christmas card she was about to send to her school friends in South London.
“We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China,” it said in English, written in all capital letters. “Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organization.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman has dismissed the whole story as “a farce” because, as he said, Shanghai’s Qingpu prison “does not have this issue of foreign prisoners being forced to work”. And Tesco’s Chinese supplier, Zhejiang Yunguang Printing Factory, has also rejected the forced labor allegation as “completely fabricated”.
The Chinese state media China Daily also criticizes Tesco for immediately suspending the Chinese supplier before launching an investigation.
China is notorious for forced labors in prisons. The note in the Christmas card instructed the person who found the message to contact Mr. Peter Humphrey, a former British journalist who had been imprisoned in a Shanghai prison for 23 months. Mr. Humphrey commented on the message and living conditions at the prison in The Sunday Times.