There's an unsettling viral article / twitter happening doing the rounds at the moment, telling the story of a note apparently from a Chinese political prisoner, found in a sock bought in a branch of high-profile UK budget clothes store Primark.

This Disturbing Chinese Note ‘Found In Primark Socks’ Is Going Viral

...The letter was posted online by Lucy Kirk who says that her Dad purchased the socks a week ago before discovering the letter, written entirely in Chinese.

...a disturbing story emerged regarding a 34-year-old man in China called Ting Kun Ding ... [who] attempted to report corrupt government officials, but was then imprisoned himself for ‘blackmail’

The note then supposedly describes how the man and his wife were tortured, with his wife being forced into a mental institution and his father being killed in May 2014

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Is this a genuine found note, and not a hoax or a fabrication?

It's currently the only relevant-seeming Google result for that transliteration of the man's name.

Update: Dec 21

Another note was recently found, but has been dismissed as a "hoax" by Primark: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3369028/Primark-shopper-finds-distressing-letter-Chinese-torture-victim-hidden-pair-socks-bought-budget-store.html

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My name is Ding Tingkun, male, 39. Address: Anhui province, Suzhou City, Lingbi County, Damiao Township, Shatan Village, Sixth Collective. Because I went to Beijing, to report truthfully to national government leaders about corrupt police officials abandoning their positions and openly protecting mafia gangs and criminals, I was falsely accused and set up for fraud and blackmail by Lingbi County, Damiao Township police station leaders Gu Min, Jiang Guangzhao etc. and illegally sentenced on June 29, 2014, by Lingbi County People’s Court for three years in jail. Afterwards, I appealed to Suzhou City Mid-level People’s Court. On May 19, 2015, Suzhou City Mid-level People’s Court declared: Lingbi County People’s Court’s decision has been overturned. The details are unclear and there’s not enough evidence. The case is to be reassessed. At present I am forcefully detained at Lingbi County detention centre. My body and mind have been subjected to extreme torture and damage! Whoever sees this letter, please give it to national government leader President Xi Jingping, Premier Li Keqiang or expose this through a journalist or media! Thank you! My wife and I have both been made paralysed. Source of plea: Ding Tingkun June 22, 2015, Ling County


1 Answer 1


We know this is not a hoax on the side of the sock purchaser, because whoever was writing the letters was quite prolific and it has shown up on the Internet at least 4 times:

The second letter actually managed a corporate response:

Primark has provided a statement to Newstalk.com in which they say that they have carried out an “unannounced inspections” of the factory and there is no "link between the garment, the author of the note nor any evidence of forced labour."

Newstalk has also rang the number provided by the author and it was out of service.

The Reddit posts contain details on an actual court case concerning the person named, but it's unclear what the resolution is and we can't be 100% sure that the letters were actually sent from prison.

As noted in the comments to this question, the author of a similar such letter was identified and spoke to the American press, but it was hard to help him as China resists foreign pressure.

  • Primark had notes written on the clothes labels about the awful working conditions. This makes it look genuine as a British person cannot put sewn on messages on clothes labels. mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/…
    – desbest
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 17:38

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