My husband Cheng Yuan is a slave laborer for Milwaukee Tool in China and can wait no longer!

—An open Letter to Milwaukee Tool Group President Steven Richman from Cheng Yuan’s wife

To: Milwaukee Tool Group

13135 West Lisbon Road Brookfield, 

WI 53005-2550

Milwaukee Tool Group CEO Mr. Steven Richman, 

I’m Shi Minglei. I work in the e-commerce industry living 5 hours away from your company. I’m an EMBA student and also a mom of a 6 year old. 

But today, I write this to you as the wife of Cheng Yuan — a Chinese human rights activist arbitrarily detained in China for almost 1200 days, and urge you to stop the forced labor that is happening in China. 

My husband Cheng Yuan is subject slave labor in Chishan prison workshop, Hunan Province, China, to produce Milwaukee products everyday. Due to the longterm forced labor conditions and lack of protective measures for workers, my husband now has severe back, shoulder and lower back pain. His hair has all turned white, He lost his weight a lot, now he is less than 110 lb. And he also now has Hematochezia. My husband can wait no longer!

This week, I went to Home Depot and bought a pair Milwaukee gloves, when I looked at your brand, I cried. These past several months, every time I think of my husband’s well-being, I cried, both day and night. I couldn’t sleep during the night — even though I need to take care my young daughter and have other commitments for both work and study. 

Prisoners in Hunan Chishan prison produce more than 3,000,000 units of Milwaukee gloves every year. Here are their working conditions which no doubt is slave labor: 

  1. 13~15 hours of work time everyday. 
  2. Only 4 days off over the course of a full year. 
  3. Monthly pay: $13.8 (100RMB). The pay is 2% of a Chinese worker in a factory, and 0.2% of a worker in the United States. 
  4. There is a Quality Control manager, who’s surname is Liu, who frequently asks the prison guards to beat prisoners when they can’t meet their quota, or when there are quality issues. 
  5. No protective measures at all. They didn’t even get any protective masks. Hazardous materials and harmful air conditions lead to lifelong health issues for the prisoners. 

My husband Cheng Yuan is a great Chinese activist. He is the founder of the NGO Changsha Funeng, and a dedicate Chinese human rights advocate in many areas. He has been devoted to our civil society since 2008. In the past decade, he fought for Chinese people’s basic human rights, including equal education, job, and health rights for 100 million people afflicted by Hepatitis B, HIV carriers, and other disadvantaged groups. He was one of the leading advocates to end China’s one-child policy and promoted the return of people’s right to have children. He also promoted the United Nations anti-torture convention and other United Nations conventions in China. His work was fruitful and greatly improved the living conditions of our Chinese people. 

What he did led to his arrest, arbitrarily detention, tortured, and secret sentence by our regime state. At the same time, the international world recognized his wonderful work and gave our family strong support and respect. My husband is a good man, good partner, reliable friend, and also a wonderful dad. Our family has already paid the price for seeking this justice for our people. 

So today, Steven, please allow me ask you only one simple question:

While you are enjoying your weekend with your family in this sunny, peaceful afternoon, 

how do I tell my 6 year old daughter who hasn’t seen her daddy for almost 1200 days that her daddy, an activist seeking justice, is working in slave-labor conditions for you in China? 

The below information is required for the prisoners and the public:

  1. Please answer my letter to state if there is any legal basis for Milwaukee to use Hunan Chishan prisoners as forced laborers?
  2. Please explain if there is any legal basis for the Quality Control manager who works for Milwaukee and is based in Hunan prison to ask prison guards to beat prisoners making your products? 
  3. Please share Milwaukee gloves suppliers and all the import data from China to the public based on United States Forced Labor Prevention Law. ( Public Law 117-78- UFLPA An act to ensure that goods made with forced labor in Xinjiang and other persecuted groups do not enter the United States, signed by President Joe Biden, effective on Dec 23, 2021 and officially implement on June 21,2022) 
  4. Please share profits Milwaukee has earned from using forced labor in China. 
  5. Please share your decision and action plan about dealing with the forced labor issue. 

Finally, I want to notify you that Milwaukee’s supply which uses forced labor definitely is illegal. It’s both against the United States Forced Labor Prevention Law and the United Nations Forced Labor Convention. It’s also simply shameful for Milwaukee to violate people’s basic human rights.

I have submitted all the proof regarding this case and documents to the United Nations and the United States government. And I reserve my rights to sue Milwaukee in the United States.

I wait for your reply and require a face-to-face meeting in 2 weeks. I require Milwaukee to apologize to our families and all the prisoners in Hunan Chishan prison publicly.

Shi Minglei ( Wife of Cheng Yuan) 


Oct. 30, 2022


  1. Washing Post reported Cheng Yuan and other activists detained in China, Christian Shepherd, ’They wanted rule of law, so China tried them in secret’ on June 24, 2022. Link:
  2. NPR MPR News reported Cheng Yuan, Emily Feng, ‘Inside China’s Crackdown On Human Rights Advocates ’, Link:
  3. Frontlinedefenders, profile of Cheng Yuan. Link:
  4. 9 International Human Rights NGOs released joint statement calling release of Cheng Yuan. Link:
  5. UN Human Rights Council Arbitrary Detention Group Opinions Concerning Cheng Yuan. Link: A_HRC_WGAD_2020_11_Advance_Edited_Version.pdf


Like my work?
Don't forget to support or like, so I know you are with me..