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China: Labour activist Meng Han sentenced to 1 year, 9 months; Rights groups urge PVH/Calvin Klein, Coach, Ralph Lauren to call for his release

Note: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has invited PVH (Calvin Klein), Coach, and Ralph Lauren to respond.  PVH's response is below.

"On Thursday 3 and Friday 4 November, the Chinese labour activist Meng Han will be tried by Panyu district court in southern China. He has been targeted by the Chinese authorities after he educated workers about their rights…Because they were sourcing shoes from the factory, Calvin Klein, Coach and Ralph Lauren have been asked by workers’ rights groups to make statements to the Chinese authorities to call for Meng Han’s release…"

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Article
3 November 2016

China: Labour activist Meng Han sentenced to 1 year, 9 months

Author: China Labour Bulletin

"Guangdong labour activist Meng Han sentenced to 1 year, 9 months", 3 Nov 2016

Labour activist Meng Han was sentenced to a prison term of one year and nine months on Thursday by a Chinese court for “gathering crowds to disrupt public order,” according to his defense lawyer. Meng pleaded guilty and said he would not appeal.

Meng, who was officially detained on January 8, worked at the Panyu Workers’ Centre in Guangdong. During his detention, Meng had limited access to legal representation and the length of his detention exceeded the legally allowable time limit by almost two months, according to… China Labour Bulletin (CLB), who said he was detained amid “blatant procedural violations.”

Meng was detained as part of a broader crackdown on Guangdong labour NGOs in December. Before the crackdown, the Panyu Workers’ Centre organised workers in several high-profile collective bargaining cases…Han Dongfang, the director of the CLB group, which worked with the Panyu Centre for five years, said “even if he pleads guilty, I won’t believe he does so out of his own will.”

Meng’s parents faced intimidation throughout his detention, according to CLB, including one instance where they were forced to move after unidentified thugs attacked their apartment door with an axe…

Read the full post here

Company response
3 November 2016

PVH response: Regarding case of labour activist Meng Han

Author: PVH

Global Brands Group, in its capacity as a PVH licensee, sources footwear from the Lide factory. All PVH licensees are required to adhere to our Code of Conduct, “A Shared Commitment,” which includes the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.  To this point, PVH worked with all parties to encourage and ultimately conclude the mutually beneficial resolution of the labor dispute at Lide in 2014. 

China Labor Watch brought the detention of activists that were involved in the Lide work to our attention in January 2016.  While we have not received evidence of any connection between the current detention of activists and the 2014 labor dispute at Lide, PVH takes any instance of unfair detention related to human rights advocacy very seriously. Given the scale and seriousness of these issues, PVH believes working through multi-stakeholder organizations and government to be our best chance of positively influencing this troubling situation.  To this end, PVH has spoken to our licensee Global Brands Group, industry associations, a multi-stakeholder forum, peer companies, and civil society actors, in an effort to mobilize industry action to address the above noted trial.

Article
30 October 2016

Chinese activist faces life in jail for supporting shoe workers: Calvin Klein, Coach and Ralph Lauren urged to call for Meng Han’s release

Author: Labour Behind the Label

On Thursday 3 and Friday 4 November, the Chinese labour activist Meng Han will be tried by Panyu district court in southern China. He has been targeted by the Chinese authorities after he educated workers about their rights, in a factory making shoes for Calvin Klein, Coach and Ralph Lauren. He is charged with “gathering a crowd to disturb social order”, which carries a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment.

Meng Han was arrested on 3 December 2015, when Chinese police carried out a series of surprise raids on the homes and offices of around 50 staff members and volunteers working for labour rights groups in Guangdong, China…

Because they were sourcing shoes from the factory, Calvin Klein, Coach and Ralph Lauren have been asked by workers’ rights groups to make statements to the Chinese authorities to call for Meng Han’s release…

Read the full post here