The following is reprinted with permission from The Associated Press. © Copyright 1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
Nike Says Labor Protesters Have Vietnam Political Agenda
Jan 20, 1999
HANOI (AP)--A Nike Inc. executive has reportedly said that human rights groups who focus on labor conditions at Nike factories in Vietnam have an agenda of turning Vietnam into a U.S.-style democracy and are not "friends of Vietnam."
In a letter to the state-run union, the Vietnam Confederation of Labor, which was reprinted Tuesday in the Vietnamese-language daily paper, Labor, Nike vice-president Jozef Ha said these groups "target Nike because Nike helps to create many jobs in Vietnam. Their political objective is to create a so-called democratic society on the U.S. model. A nation should not necessarily apply the model of another nation. Each nation has its own internal political system. Nike believes completely in this."
U.S. shoe and clothing company Nike was unable to immediately provide a copy of the original letter in English but a spokesman at the trade union said it was not edited when it appeared in the newspaper. Translation errors however could have been introduced by the paper.
The letter was printed along with a small introduction saying "There have been some strikes recently at some factories producing for Nike in Vietnam. Some organizations of exiled Vietnamese took this opportunity to distort with the aim of inciting the subversion of Vietnam as well as Nike's business operations in Vietnam."
Nike has been the target of widespread criticism in the U.S. and in Vietnam because of the labor conditions at the factories run by its subcontractors in the south of Vietnam. Moast recent Nike statements said that there are 40,000 employees at five factories in South Vietnam but up to date figures were not immediately available.
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