Cotton On probing ties with Chinese printer in forced labour storm

Tesco Christmas cards were allegedly packed by Chinese prisoners. (AP pic)

SYDNEY: Australian clothing retailer Cotton On Group is investigating its relationship with a Chinese printing firm suspected of using forced prison labour and which was recently suspended as a supplier by Tesco, ABC News reported.

The British supermarket giant suspended Zhejiang Yunguang Printing following a media report that a customer had found a message inside a Christmas card saying it had been packed by foreign prisoners who were victims of forced labour.

The ABC quoted a Cotton On statement as saying its “supplier code of conduct includes a zero tolerance approach to any form of modern slavery, including forced labour”.

Cotton On did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Tesco PLC said the Christmas cards were produced at the Zhejiang Yunguang Printing factory, about 100km from Shanghai Qingpu prison. It said it was shocked by the allegations and is investigating the matter.

Zhejiang Yunguang did not respond to a request for comment, but China on Monday dismissed accusations of forced labour at the Shanghai prison.

The ABC reported that Zhejiang Yunguang Printing also lists Walt Disney Co and US retailer Big Lots as international partners.

Big Lots and Disney did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for a comment.