Swedish government criticized for its handling of Gui Minhai’s Chinese imprisonment

The Riksdag building in Stockholm – Photo: Håkan Dahlström

In an arranged hearing focusing on “Swedish citizens imprisoned abroad” which took place in the Swedish national assembly “Riksdagen” the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs were criticized for the way they have dealt with the imprisonment of Gui Minhai as well as other Swedish citizens who are believed to be prisoners of conscience, Kinamedia writes.

The goal of the meeting on 8 December was to find a strategy to get Gui Minhai as well as two other Swedish citizens released from their imprisonments abroad.

Gui Minhai was arrested by China in 2015 after being abducted from his home in Pattaya, Thailand. According to the Chinese authorities he was being held for having sold books to citizens in Hong Kong that hadn’t been approved by the Chinese state.

Gui Minhai is still jailed in China after he was arrested in 2015

At the hearing in Riksdagen one of the invited people was Peter Dahlin, a human rights activist from Sweden, who himself was arrested and imprisoned for 23 days in China. Peter Dahlin was arrested for his work with the human rights organization “China Action” which focused on improving human rights in China. Peter Dahlin was the co-founder of this organization.

Today Peter Dahlin is the chairman of the judicial organization Safeguard Defenders and in his appearance, at the hearing, he presented a lot of critique points on how the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has handled the case.

Based on his and Safeguard Defenders’ work with the Gui Minhai case and his personal experience from Chinese imprisonment Peter has presented the following critique.

*The ministry has insisted on treating the case as a consular matter even though Gui Minhai was kidnapped in a third country which breaches international conventions and thereby enables major support from the international society.

*Instead of utilizing the aforementioned possibility or other methods the ministry and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström has publicly expressed the belief that “There is nothing we can do about the situation”.

Peter Dahlin also explains that himself and Safeguard Defenders has been contacted by foreign authorities from the US, Great Britain, Canada, and Australia which also have been subjected to unlawful arrests of their citizens in China.

The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has however not made any effort to contact these countries despite the ongoing imprisonment of Gui Minhai. These countries have acted substantially different than Sweden when their citizens were arrested. According to Dahlin, this has prompted diplomats from these countries to question “What Sweden is actually doing?”

Other persons at the hearing also urged the ministry to take further action against China and force them to release Gui Minhai.

About Lasse Sandholdt

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

View all posts by Lasse Sandholdt

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