A British girl found a haunting surprise when she opened a package of Christmas cards, coming across a note written by a Chinese “prisoner” who claimed they were forced into stuffing the cards as part of an alleged slave labor program.
As the New York Post reported, 6-year-old Florence Widdicombe found the note after her family purchased the cards from the British supermarket chain Tesco. The note claimed to come from a prisoner asking the person who found it to help raise attention about their plight.
“We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China. Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organisation,” read the note, written in all capital letters.
The message also directed the person who found it to get in contact with a British journalist named Peter Humphrey, who had been imprisoned at the Shanghai Qingpu prison four years ago. Humphrey had been hired by American pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline to investigate a potential smear campaign taking place in China, and he was detained and charged by the Chinese government on allegations that he had illegally acquired personal information about Chinese nationals.
As the Financial Times reported, Humphrey spent close to two years in the prison and described intense interrogations that bordered on torture.
The father of the girl who found the card said they didn’t know if it was legitimate at first and thought it may have been a prank. They then realized it was serious.
“But on reflection, we realized it was potentially quite a serious thing,” said dad Ben Widdicombe, via the New York Post, noting that they contacted Humphrey. “There is something about that message hitting home at Christmas … that really does make it very poignant and very powerful.”
As Vox noted, this is not the first time that a Chinese slave laborer has slipped a note into a product headed for the west. Back in 2017, an American shopper found a piece of paper folded at the bottom of a purse she purchased from Walmart. The note, written in Mandarin Chinese, claimed it came from an inmate at China’s Yinghan Prison who are forced to work for 14 hours a day without a rest. The person claimed that they are not properly fed and do not receive medical care.
As The Inquisitr noted, a similar note was found in 2012 in a package of Halloween decorations sold in a Kmart store.