The Tesco Christmas Card Hoax of 2019

A young girl in the UK allegedly found the following written in one of the Christmas cards she purchased from the supermarket, Tesco:

The factory identified by Tesco as being the source of production denies this, but by using weasel words.

We wrote previously about the ridiculously ineffective Modern Slavery Act and its various international variations, in which the following quote featured:

The BHRCC research, from October 2017, commended Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Unilever, British American Tobacco, Tesco and Vodafone for their work against modern slavery.

It would seem, Prima Facie, Tesco’s statement on a website didn’t do much to counter slavery in the supply chain.

However, our Bullshit Detector is flashing regarding this story.

Firstly, that note has zero spelling or grammatical errors or even any indication in the prose suggesting a non-native English speaker wrote it. Even the best speakers and writers of English as a second language usually give unintentional hints in the written form.

Secondly, it seems all too perfect a coincidence that a small girl would traumatically find the note. Of all the Christmas cards written in the UK, what percentage are written by small children, do we think? I’m going to suggest less than 2%.

Then there’s the interesting career of her father, Ben Widdicombe:

Today’s LinkedIn profile was brought to you by the words “political” and “activist“.

Bill’s Opinion

Two facts can be correct at the same time.

It is highly likely Chinese factories producing Tesco’s Christmas cards are using or have used forced (or at least, “coerced“) prison labour.

It can also be true that a man who has spent his entire life as a political activist wrote the note in the card and put it in a pile for his daughter to write.

I’m no fan of nor apologist for the Chinese government, as polemics such as this and this would attest, but my patented razor suggests the most likely explanation of this story is that it is The Tesco Christmas Card Hoax of 2019 and was perpetrated by Ben Widdicombe.

UPDATE

A correspondent has suggested the note has been translated and the original is not being shown to protect the writer.

Previous reporting of similar notes have stated this translation has occurred but I’ve yet to find reporting of this for this specific case.

Regardless, translated note or otherwise, the strongest indication of this being a hoax is the unlikelihood of the small child of a lifelong political activist finding a note in a card from a Chinese slave labourer.

Update 2: “Handwriting changed

5 Replies to “The Tesco Christmas Card Hoax of 2019”

  1. 99% chance that this is propaganda just as that recent Chinese spy defector story in OZ was.

    The Ministry of Truth have had a very effective year on the Chinese situation. We now have the average westerner, celebrity and sportsman raising concerns about the treatment of an outlawed Jihadi terrorist organisation in China that has committed the majority of all terrorist attacks in China and is a major supporter of the much hated in the Muslim world Takfiri head choppers based on the flimsiest of questionable reports.

    “Claims that China has detained millions of Uyghur Muslims are based largely on two studies. A closer look at these papers reveals US government backing, absurdly shoddy methodologies, and a rapture-ready evangelical researcher named Adrian Zenz.” By Ajit Singh and Max Blumenthal

    https://thegrayzone.com/2019/12/21/china-detaining-millions-uyghurs-problems-claims-us-ngo-researcher/

    Which when you think about is pretty good work for them considering that the very same “do gooders” didn’t bat an eye lid when their military invaded, bombed the fuck out off, destroyed, killed and maimed millions of un-radicalized Muslim civilians throughout many Mid-Eastern sovereign nations.

    No doubt the Ministry of Peace are planning for a Muslim Chinese girl to come to the senate to testify that Chinese soldiers of Han ethnicity are taking Muslim babies out of incubators and throwing them down on the hospital floor.

  2. Add to that, this is the ultimate surveillance state and they let foreign forced labour get away with sending that sort of message? And as foreigners they knew exactly who to contact at the FT, not their own embassy, not one of the international NGOs but a specific reporter?

    That this story even made it in to the front is yet another indicator of the death of journalism. What is going on in China is despicable and it won’t help giving them fake news stories that are easily denied.

    1. Yes this could be an own goal for the Ministry of Truth.

      I reckon that “forcing” prisoners to do productive work is something that we should consider in Australia as well, whether its against their will is of a lesser concern. This to me is a sign of an advanced society.

      When you are convicted of a crime punishable by jail time its seems odd that you can just sit back and bludge your time away, planning your next crime for when you get out, especially if you are a foreigner.

  3. “Update 2: “Handwriting changed“

    Good that nails it then, it was China that done it.

    It’s interesting to see how much air time this kind of “nothing burger” story is given down under, this is the agenda that has been set for us, the burning issue of the day, a most relevant and pressing issue that the average Aussie finds objectionable.

    Contrast that with the level of reporting, agenda stetting and local discussion on the recently released and already buried Afghanistan Papers that is deliberately long such that nobody will read it. Okay its primarily an American issue but some of our guys were up there, some of them didn’t come back, yes, they were mercenaries but still and what about the mass civilian causalities, our hard earned cash being expended on budget blow outs and the ongoing carnage that we are still involved in.

    They say that a democracy brings a free press which brings accountability, it doesn’t, it brings deniability. They can now say refer to page 12,007 where we wrote about it and laugh in your face because there is fuck all anyone can do about it.

    Has anyone seen the movie The Two Popes, it’s a good example of a whitewash.

    And on this cheery note a very Happy Christmas to Bill and his readers.

    …………………………………………………………………………………

    What Do We Do With the Afghanistan Papers?

    Are Americans ignoring the revelation that their government lied to them, again, for decades about another endless war? Or have they mastered their ability to process their anger about such injustices?

    https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/afghanistan-papers-craig-whitlock-endless-war-926742/

  4. Industrial sabotage, the only question being why he selected that particular victim. Tesco in particular or as a symbol of evil capitalism.

    From my dealings with China I severely, severely doubt that anything about the help message is real. My BS detector is going off the scale.

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