UK supermarket giant Tesco has said it has stopped production at a factory in China after one of its Christmas cards was found to contain a cry for help reportedly from a prisoner who made it.
The Sunday Times newspaper reported that a London schoolgirl had opened a card last weekend to find a message inside claiming to be from inmates at Shanghai’s Qingpu Prison.
The six-year-old schoolgirl has discovered a chilling plea from inmates of a Chinese prison scrawled inside a charity Christmas card from a £1.50 pack sold by Tesco. She “thought it was a prank”.
Florence Widdicombe told Sky News “it was really weird” to find the note in the charity card. The message read: “We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organisation.”
The cry for help from cards sold by Zheijiang Yunguang Printing throws a spotlight on the plight of thousands in Chinese prisons, as well as the supply chain behind Tesco’s card selection that raises £300,000 for the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK, the Daily Mail reports.
Sky News adds that Tesco said it was shocked by the find and had started an investigation, and has also stopped working with the Chinese factory where the card – decorated with a kitten wearing a Santa hat – was made.
The message inside named the former journalist Peter Humphrey as a contact, who spent two years in the same prison. Florence, who lives with her family in Tooting, London, said: “I was sitting down at the table writing my cards to my friends when I opened one and started laughing because someone had already written in the card. “Then I passed it on to my mum. It took an hour to get our heads round it because we thought it was a prank.”