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Congress Urges Amazon CEO To Aid Tortured Chinese Whistleblower

[YouTube/Screenshot/TheNewYorkTimes]

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Philip Lenczycki Investigative Reporter
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  • The bi-partisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) has called upon Amazon’s CEO Andy Jassy to advocate on behalf of a Chinese labor rights whistleblower, Tang Mingfang, who was tortured and imprisoned for revealing illegal child labor violations occurring at an assembly plant in China where Amazon products are manufactured.
  • Amazon first received a letter from the CECC regarding Tang Mingfang’s plight in July 2021.
  • Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey is a signatory of the CECC letter and discussed Tang’s situation with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Congress is urging Amazon’s CEO to advocate for the exoneration of a whistleblower who suffered torture and imprisonment after revealing illegal labor practices at a Foxconn production facility manufacturing Amazon products in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

In a Feb. 16 letter written to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) details how after a former employee, Tang Mingfang, uncovered illegal labor practices occurring within an assembly plant where Amazon’s Echos, Echo Dots and Kindles are produced, Tang was detained, arrested, tortured and imprisoned.

Democratic Sen. Jeffrey Merkley of Oregon and Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, as well as Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida signed the February CECC letter sent to Jassy, which the CECC purports is the second of its kind, following a previous July 2021 letter which received no response.

A spokesperson for Rubio told the Daily Caller News Foundation, “Amazon’s responsibility in this matter is as stated in the letter – ‘to publicly advocate for Tang’s complete exoneration and to ensure others exposing forced labor in the PRC are protected.'”

“I just find it appalling that they weren’t Tang’s best friend throughout this entire process, going right up to the CEO,” Smith told the DCNF. “He should have been speaking out. They all should have been saying that’s unacceptable, China.”

“You can’t mistreat an employee like this. They should have been shouting from atop the Great Wall of China about this case and been persistent, rather than worrying about their market share and access to cheap labor,” Smith said.

(RELATED: Amazon Whistleblower Who Was Imprisoned And Beaten In China Asks Company For Apology)

On Feb. 16, 2022, the CECC wrote to Andy Jassy, Amazon’s CEO, regarding labor rights advocate Tang Mingfang, who was reportedly imprisoned and tortured for whistleblowing on illegal labor practices in a Hunan province factory producing Amazon products. [YouTube/Screenshot/ABCNews]

On Feb. 16, 2022, the CECC wrote to Andy Jassy, Amazon’s CEO, regarding labor rights advocate Tang Mingfang, who was reportedly imprisoned and tortured for whistleblowing on illegal labor practices in a Hunan province factory producing Amazon products. [YouTube/Screenshot/ABCNews]

Reports by The Guardian newspaper and the non-profit group China Labor Watch originally brought Tang’s allegations to light.

Based on Tang’s testimony, the reports identified multiple illegal labor practices transpiring within Foxconn’s plant involving the exploitation of student intern employees. According to the China Labor Watch report, Foxconn paid the students’ teachers a “$425 subsidy from the factory,” while their schools earned around 50 cents “for every hour an intern worked” in compensation for their assistance in physically coercing pupils to work.

The China Labor Watch report noted that overtime and night shift work for students were, in and of themselves, already violations of article 16 of the PRC Regulations on the Management of Vocational School Student Internships. (RELATED: Amazon Killed One Of Its Most Popular Features Because China’s Communist Party Demanded It)

Following multiple suicides, Foxconn installed suicide nets around the perimeter of the facility. [YouTube/Screenshot/BBCNews]

Following multiple suicides, Foxconn installed suicide nets around the perimeter of the facility. [YouTube/Screenshot/BBCNews]

The February 2022 CECC letter to Amazon recounts that although in the aftermath of the 2019 reports Amazon “launched investigations” and Foxconn dismissed “the factory supervisor and human resources manager,” the whistleblower, Tang, was still punished for his role in uncovering the illegal labor practices.

The CECC letter to Amazon CEO Jassy states that in September 2019 “Tang Mingfang, a 42-year-old former employee of Foxconn affiliate Hengyang Futaihong Precision Industry Co., Ltd.” was detained for “leaking confidential company information.”

After enduring prolonged torture Tang “signed a confession to the alleged crime,” was fined “approximately 1,500 USD,” and received a two-year prison sentence, according to the CECC letter.

The CECC letter urges Amazon’s CEO to “publicly demonstrate enhanced company policies to protect whistleblowers” and asked Jassy whether “the Foxconn factory suffered any penalty for participating in Tang’s arrest and prison sentence.”

“We do not tolerate violations of our Supply Chain Standards,” a spokesperson for Amazon told the DCNF in an email. “We regularly assess suppliers, using independent auditors as appropriate, to monitor continued compliance and improvement — if we find violations, we take appropriate steps, including requesting immediate corrective action.” (RELATED: Genocide Games: How China’s Human Rights Abuses Went From Unthinkable To Undeniable)

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