After Swedish media Expressen, last week published an article by Jojje Olsson concerning China’s H&M boycott in which he described the political game that the state-orchestrated boycott is a part of, Jojje Olsson received an email from the Chinese Embassy in Sweden.
Jojje Olsson is a Swedish journalist for Expressen, he is also a China expert based in Taiwan. According to Expressen, he is used to receiving unpleasant emails from the Chinese Embassy in Sweden after his reviewing articles about the one-party state. But this email stood out from the previous ones however and Jojje Olsson says, “The tone is more threatening than usual.”
Expressen reports that the email accused Jojje Olsson of conspiring with separatists in Taiwan and spreading misinformation to provoke anti-Chinese sentiment. He was described as “dishonest” and “morally corrupt”, and the email ended with the sentence:
“We urge you to immediately stop your wrongdoing, otherwise you will eventually face the consequences of your actions.”
“It is very, very common for Chinese authorities to engage in, for example, character assassinations, rumors and to shoot the messenger in this campaign that they run. They can launch a smear campaign to try to undermine my credibility. It can also be about cyber intrusion or cyberattacks,” Jojje Olsson says.
Expressen is looking for the embassy’s political section with the question of what consequences they aim for Jojje Olsson to face if he continues to report on China. Jojje Olsson himself interprets the threatening tone in the email as meaning that China is becoming increasingly frustrated by the negative attention that China’s policy receives in Sweden and other Western democracies.
“The same context includes the sanctions that China has issued, including against the Swedish researcher Björn Jerdén, center manager at the Foreign Policy Institute”, says Jojje Olsson.