Expressen: Sweden is vulnerable to China’s influence operations

Expressen reports on Sweden’s former Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s connection with China. Photo: ANNA-KARIN NILSSON / ANNA-KARIN NILSSON EXPRESSEN

According to Expressen, the Swedish media silence surrounding former Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s dealings with the Chinese state, shows just how vulnerable Sweden is to the communist regime’s influence operations.

Expressen’s reporter Frida Sundkvist could last year reveal that Fredrik Reinfeldt has been on the board of a company in Hong Kong controlled by the Chinese state for several years. He has also attended meetings with senior politicians and officials in China. Through an agreement, Frida Sundkvist was also able to show that the former Prime Minister would receive a commission on the profits of a Swedish company that cooperated with China and that he was guaranteed compensation of around SEK 1.5 million per year.

According to Frida Sundkvist, the most striking revelation was that the former Prime Minister has business relations with a person who seems to be involved in trying to reduce the attention surrounding imprisoned Swedish-Chinese publisher Gui Minhai. Revelations include that the businessman who recruited Fredrik Reinfeldt was present at the famous meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Stockholm in 2019, where a group of men and the then Swedish China Ambassador Anna Lindstedt met with Angela Gui, daughter of Gui Minhai. Angela Gui reportedly perceived the meeting as threatening and said that she was pressured to keep quiet about her father’s case.

Nevertheless, all of Expressen’s revelation was in principle met with silence by other newsrooms except for Barbro Hedvall who wrote a text on Dagens Nyheter’s editorial page. Other established Swedish media did not report on the matter at all and Expressen ironically concludes that the fact that a former head of government has worked for a company controlled by a dictatorship is obviously considered a private matter,

Foreign media are not that sensitive however and British and German newspapers have in turn made revelations regarding both former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s various business contacts with representatives of China and former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s dealings with the Chinese Communist regime. Expressen states that there is an insight in the foreign press that the recruitment of ex-politicians in the West is a well-thought-out way for the Chinese regime to get messengers with high credibility.

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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