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Tesco suspends Chinese supplier after allegations of forced labor

Tesco PLC suspended production at a Chinese factory after a press report alleged that the facility used forced labor to produce Christmas cards, Reuters reported Dec. 22.

A customer came across a message on a Tesco Christmas card, which said: "We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organization," Reuters reported, citing The Sunday Times.

The cards were produced at the Zheijiang Yunguang Printing factory, which is about 100 kilometers away from Shanghai Qingpu prison, according to the report.

The British retailer said in a Dec. 22 statement that it abhors the use of prison labor and would not allow it in its supply chain.

"We were shocked by these allegations and immediately suspended the factory where these cards are produced and launched an investigation," Tesco said. The company added that the cards have been withdrawn from sale while the company investigates the situation.

"We have a comprehensive auditing system in place and this supplier was independently audited as recently as last month and no evidence was found to suggest they had broken our rule banning the use of prison labor," the company said.