(Natural News) A whistleblower is demanding that e-commerce giant Amazon apologize after he was imprisoned for revealing the company’s inhumane labor practices in China. Tang Mengfing served jail time for exposing the oppressive and miserable working conditions in factories manufacturing devices for the Big Tech company.
Tang spent several years investigating the working conditions at the Hengyang Foxconn factory in China’s Hubei Province, where he was assigned. The Taiwanese Foxconn is Amazon’s partner responsible for producing devices such as the Echo, Echo Dot and Kindle.
The whistleblower learned that school-aged children are treated like unpaid slaves at the Hengyang facility. “Tang alleged that school-aged children were put to work in the Foxconn factory, and that many were forced to work beyond the allotted 36 hours of overtime in a month – with some exceeding over 100 hours – essentially functioning as unpaid workers beyond their allotted hours,” the Post Millennial reported.
Tang’s revelations prompted an investigation on Amazon, and the Chinese government fined Foxconn for the labor violations. However, he became the target of reprisal by local authorities who subjected him to punishment and abuse. To make things worse, Tang was sentenced to prison in July 2020 where he languished for over a year.
“I refused to sign seven times, and they got angry and handcuffed me to the bottom of the iron frame. [I was] unable to stand, squat or sit; only bending [or] half-squatting all night. In the early morning, I could not stand anymore.”
“My father always taught me that I should be a good person. Because I followed my heart and believed that justice should be served, I reported the serious violations at Henyang Foxconn. Yet my imprisonment has caused such great harm to me and my family,” said Tang. (Related: A whistleblower who was tortured in a Chinese prison for exposing Amazon’s horrific slave labor operations overseas asks for an apology.)
Reprisal against Tang violates Amazon policy for whistleblowers
Tang believes that CCP officials are colluding with the company previously helmed by Jeff Bezos to exploit children, and that Amazon should have done more to protect him.
“I think Amazon should give me an explanation [and] tell me if I really deserve to be sent to jail. If not, Amazon should give me an apology along with its partner Foxconn, assist me to appeal for redress and provide compensation.”
Tang also wrote a letter to the Amazon CEO urging Foxconn to “face up to its own problems, apologize to me, and come forward and communicate with the local court to assist me in the appeal of my case so that the court can finally revoke my guilty verdict.”
Tang fortunately found an ally in the form of China Labor Watch (CLW). The group condemned the persecution faced by the whistleblower, adding that his sentence was “a ridiculous verdict.” According to CLW, the retaliation Tang experienced violated the “Grievance Mechanism and Whistle-blower Protections” section of Amazon’s Supplier Code of Conduct.
“Amazon expects suppliers to protect worker whistleblower confidentiality and prohibit retaliation against workers who report workplace grievances. Suppliers are required to create a mechanism for workers to submit their grievances in a confidential and anonymous manner, and maintain an effective process to investigate and address worker concerns,” the code of conduct stated.
CLW Director Li Qiang also wrote to Bezos calling on him to intervene on behalf of Tang. “It is unacceptable and unfair that Tang Mingfang is serving jail time for trying to help Amazon improve the labor conditions in its supplier factory. All he did was report violations of workers’ rights,” Qiang’s letter said.
However, the Amazon CEO did not reply to the letters sent by Tang and Qiang. The company had not offered any support for the whistleblower, according to the CLW director.
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