/Note in London girls Christmas card may have come from slave laborers in Chinese prison

Note in London girls Christmas card may have come from slave laborers in Chinese prison


A note found inside a Christmas card by a 6-year-old London girl may have been a plea for help from imprisoned foreign laborers in China.

Little Florence Widdicombe was addressing cards to friends when she found the note, according to reports.

“We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China. Forced to work against our will,” said the note in a card featuring a kitten with a Santa hat, the BBC reported Monday. “Please help us and notify human rights organization.”

Florence Widdicombe, 6, poses with a Tesco Christmas card from the same pack as a card she found containing a message from a Chinese prisoner. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

Florence Widdicombe, 6, poses with a Tesco Christmas card from the same pack as a card she found containing a message from a Chinese prisoner. (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

The note also contained a request to contact Peter Humphrey, a British journalist who was held in the same prison four years ago, according to the BBC.

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Florence purchased the card at a Tesco supermarket. Tesco hired the Zheijiang Yunguang Printing factory in China to produce the Christmas cards.

On Sunday, Tesco said it had halted production at the factory while it launched an investigation.

Florence told the BBC the note “made me feel shocked” and “sad” when her parents explained its significance.

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“We explained that the person who wrote it was a prisoner in China and that the person felt the prison guards were being mean, making them do work, they felt really sad,” the girl’s father, Ben Widdicombe said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused Humphrey of perpetuating “a farce,” according to the BBC.

Factory manager Shu Yunjia told the BBC the Qingpu prison was not a subcontractor.

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“Shanghai’s Qingpu prison has no such foreign prisoners undergoing forced labor,” he said, according to the BBC.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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