China Frees Activists Detained While Investigating Company That Makes Ivanka Trump Shoes

A man investigating working conditions at a company was arrested and two others went missing in May

In this June 15, 2017, file photo, Ivanka Trump listens as President Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

China released three activists on Wednesday who were detained while investigating a company that produces shoes for Ivanka Trump and other brands.

A man investigating working conditions at a company was arrested and two others went missing in May.

Hua Haifeng was accused of illegal surveillance, according to his wife, Deng Guilian, who said the police told her she didn't need to know the details, only that she would not be able to see, speak with or receive money from her husband, the family's breadwinner.

The executive director of China Labor Watch, a New York-based nonprofit, said he lost contact with Haifeng and the other two men, Li Zhao and Su Heng and concluded after dozens of unanswered calls: "They must be held either by the factory or the police to be unreachable."

China Labor Watch was planning to publish a report in June alleging low pay, excessive overtime and the possible misuse of student interns. It is unclear whether the undercover investigative methods used by the advocacy group are legal in China.