Election posters with the radical regional council candidate Thomas Rohden, the Tibetan flag, and the text “Stop cooperation with China” displayed outside the Chinese Embassy in Denmark have been removed, TV2 writes.
At least ten of the politician’s posters were removed just a few hours after he hung them up on Sunday afternoon.
The 25-year-old regional council candidate is also chairman of the Danish China-Critical Society and, among other things, one of his missions is for the Capital Region to stop collaboration with the Chinese province of Jiangsu.
“I had actually thought a little naively that they would be provoked, but would leave the posters hanging because it would break Danish law and would be tantamount to interfering in the Danish election. That was not the case,” Thomas Rohden says to TV 2.
Thomas Rohden can not prove that it was the Chinese embassy that took the posters down but finds it hard to believe that someone else would and therefore on Monday he reported the theft to the embassy.
The following day, Danish media The Independent (Den Uafhængige) took matters into their own hands and hung copies of Thomas Rohden’s posters up outside the Chinese Embassy only to see them being taken down again by a guard from the embassy.
The incident was caught on camera. “After the Independent’s revelation, I no longer have any doubt that it was the Embassy that took down the posters,” Thomas Rohden says.
The China-critical politician has a clear expectation that Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod will summon the Chinese ambassador for a conversation. “He must take the matter up and explain how unacceptable this is. Decisive principles are at stake, and the episode shows once again that China has not understood that we have freedom of speech and democracy in Denmark,” Thomas Rohden says.
According to TV2, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod is awaiting a conclusion from a police investigation before deciding how the case should be handled further although other politicians agree with Thomas Rohden that the care is worrying.
The Chinese Embassy in Denmark distances itself from the posters and in a written reply to Ritzau on Tuesday evening, the Embassy states:
“We express our strong indignation at this deliberate provocation. We never interfere in other countries elections, but we are clearly opposed to any attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs and undermine its sovereignty and territorial integrity under the pretext of campaigning or the so-called “freedom of speech”.