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Evan Vucci / AP

New York-based watchdog China Labor Watch says a man named Hua Haifeng, who had been investigating working conditions in a factory that produces shoes for the Ivanka Trump brand, has been arrested for conducting illegal surveillance. The organization says two other men who were investigating the working conditions, Li Zhao and Su Heng, are missing, per the AP.

What we know:

  • Li Zhao and Hua Haifeng were not allowed to leave China in April and May.
  • Hua told the executive director of the watchdog group the police asked him to stop investigating the factory.
  • The director says he then lost contact with the two missing men over the weekend and said they haven't returned dozens of missed calls.
  • A friend of one of the missing men was not allowed to file a missing persons report in the province, Jiangxi, where the factory is located, and police have not returned calls about the missing men.
  • The Ivanka Trump brand declined to comment.

The working conditions report from the watchdog group was set to come out in a month, and is to allege low pay, excessive working hours, and misuse of student interns. Other brand names in the same factory: Marc Fisher, Nine West, and Easy Spirit. The watchdog group's work led Walt Disney Co. to stop using a toy maker in Shenzhen last year.

The context, per the AP: "The arrest and disappearances come amid a crackdown on perceived threats to the stability of China's ruling Communist Party, particularly from sources with foreign ties such as China Labor Watch."

Go deeper

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.

Breaking Biden's diplomatic logjam

Expand chart
Data: Center for Presidential Transition via Congress.gov; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The logjam for reviewing and confirming President Biden's ambassadorial picks is finally starting to break.

Why it matters: Biden is far behind his predecessors in the rate at which his ambassadorial picks have been confirmed. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a series of high-profile hearings and votes this week to finally begin chipping away at the backlog.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats brace for staredown over paid family medical leave

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senior House Democrats are braced for battle with the Senate over whether paid family medical leave — a key priority for progressives — will be included in President Biden’s final budget reconciliation bill, lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has indicated he wants to cut the program to reduce the bill's price tag. “Paid family and medical leave must be in the final package,” Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Axios on Monday.