Sweden And China Should Cooperate About Organized Crime: Swedish Expert

Sweden and China can cooperate in dealing with transnational organized crimes be it in central Asia or in Africa and other areas, said Dr. Niklas Swanstrom, director of Sweden’s Institute for Security and Development Policy focusing mostly on Asia and Caucasus issues.

“Sweden-China relations have been at its best time in many aspects after establishing diplomatic relations 60 years ago,” Swanstrom made such a comment over a telephone interview.

“First in economic relations, it has never been better. Sweden’s trade goes to the east, which is an important part of the Swedish trade area,” he said.

In the past it was mostly Sweden invested in China, but in recent years, China also invested in Sweden. For example, Chinese investment in Sweden in 2002 was about one billion dollars, by the end of 2009, the investment from China to Sweden was 44.2 billion dollars. China has become one of the top global players as potential investors.

Second, there are many students coming to Sweden to study and more students from Sweden to go to China too. This is very positive to bilateral relations, Swanstrom said.

“But we have some misunderstandings too. It is mainly from small parties. In China there has been a lot of Chinese who have been very positive about Sweden saying that Sweden has good welfare system and so on. But that is not so right. Sweden is not that perfect,” argued Swanstrom.

“We should increase contact, increase debate. We have a lot of common ground on issues relating to central Asia, Russia, oil and gas, African issues and so on,” said Swanstrom.

“It is true that the openness in China side is in its best because now we can discuss anything in academic field. That was not possible many years ago. We can talk about human rights issue, we can discuss about how to improve it further. It is not an issue of discussing it for critique’s sake, it is constructive dialogue so that we find out how to improve it,” Swanstrom stressed.

But some people in the west tend to focus on small part of the picture and lose the big picture.

“Sometimes I think China has been a scapegoat for western mistakes or misunderstanding. But these are minority and I think the big parties in Sweden are more engaging with China. I think we can talk a lot of issues for example, about environment and floating population and so on,” said Swanstrom.

Sweden should not preach too much because China is actually a better partner, there is actually a lot we can learn from China, for example in police force, in peacekeeping and so on. China has been very constructive in the UN peacekeeping activities, he said.

“In my opinion, Europe needs to be renewed about their opinion or point of view on China. It sometimes sounds like their impression on China still stood in the late 1970s,” Swanstrom said.

“In terms of democratic development process, it is true that China is not a democracy in the western concept, but China made great progress in improving law making and implementation, in particular when China entered into the 21st century, joined the World Trade Organization and the political power has been greatly dispersed into the society.” In this sense, Europe and Sweden should really welcome such progress while pointing out the part that needs to improve, but not just focusing on the negative part only, he said.

In China most changes are positive. The natural development, legal development , power implementation which are absolutely incredible in the 1970s. But local corruption can be a big challenge for China.

It is always better for finding solutions when people give a whole picture rather than biased picture.

“I propose that Sweden and China should cooperate in legal and enforcement cooperation in cracking down organized crimes,” Swanstrom said.



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