37 Swedish papers urges China to release detained publisher

37 Swedish papers has urged China to release the detained publisher Giu Minhai, who was put into Chinese custody under suspicious circumstances in January.

In a national broadcast Giu Minhai claims that his return to China was only by his own will, contrary to statements by his daughter. Photo: Screenshot from Youtube

In January the Chinese-born Swede Giu Minhai was detained by the Chinese police under the accusation of publishing books that smeared the Chinese regime.

He was allegedly en route by train in Thailand with two Swedish diplomats to be examined for ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease) but was taken away by more than 10 “men in plain clothes” and has been in Chinese custody since, according to his daughter Angela Gui.

“Violates legal principles”

This has sparked diplomatic requirements from Sweden and the EU for the release of Giu Minhai and in the most recent development, 37 Swedish newspapers released a joint statement demanding the release of Giu Minhai:

“The Chinese authorities’ actions against Gui Minhai violate basic legal principles and constitute a serious violation of human rights,” said an article published by 37 dailies, including the two national broadsheets Svenska Dagbladet and Dagens Nyheter.

The article was signed by prominent Swedish academics, editors, journalists, politicians and actors.

“Ahead of Sweden’s national holiday tomorrow, we now urge the Chinese authorities to immediately release Gui Minhai,” the article said.

“China is a superpower that has vast economic, political and cultural influence on the world. Its leaders in Beijing have made it clear they are ready to play a leading and responsible role in the world,” the article said.

“They often refer to their proud cultural history as an asset for China and the rest of the world. Their actions against Gui Minhai are in sharp contrast to the leaders’ proud declarations.”

Accused of drunk driving

In a live broadcast on the national channel CCTV, Gui Minhai – more or less willingly – said that he returned to China by his own will to face the charges of an apparent involvement in a fatal car accident while drunk driving in 2004 and also smuggling illegal books into the country.

His first disappearance occurred in 2015 along with four other Hong Kong-based booksellers known for gossipy publications about prominent figures. Months later they all resurfaced in mainland China.

This sparked concerns in the diplomatic relations between Hong Kong and China, the former accusing China of violating the Handover Deal between Hong Kong, China and The United Kingdom of Britain if these publishers were detained on Hong Kong ground by Chinese officials.

 

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