The U.S. State Department called on China to release the three labor activists detained for looking into conditions at Ivanka Trump shoe brand factories, according to a New York Times report.
The report comes after three undercover activists were detained by Chinese officials for allegedly investigating worker conditions at factories that make Ivanka Trump shoes.
According to the NYT report, experts relayed concern that the detention of the undercover activists could make Western companies trying to look at the practices of their Chinese suppliers more difficult.
However, Chinese officials dismissed calls from the U.S. on Tuesday to release the activists and give them a fair trial—saying that the issue was an internal Chinese matter. Activists being detained in China is not uncommon, however according to the New York Times article, labor experts said that this incident represents the first time that China has held undercover labor activists looking at Western companies’ supply chains.
The Ivanka Trump brand has yet to release a statement on the incident.