Swedish media editorial: Gui Minhai is used in China’s propaganda as a tactic to spread fear

2016 protest in Hong Kong against the imprisonment of Gui Minhai Photo: AP TT

According to an editorial piece in the Swedish media Aftonbladet, the newspaper states that the Swedish-Chinese poet and publisher Gui Minhai is used in China’s propaganda as a tactic to spread fear and that his arrest in 2015 in retrospect can be seen as a premonition of China’s authoritarian re-armament.

Gui Minahi was born in Ningbo, China in 1964 and came to Sweden as a young student. He was later granted permanent residency in Sweden before he moved back to Hong Kong where he opened a bookstore and started a publishing house. He is an author of many books related to Chinese politics, Chinese political figures and is known to have previously published books on the personal lives of Chinese Communist Party members. At that time Hong Kong was a democratic breathing space in the one-party state but the Chinese state has since under President Xi Jinping taken an iron grip on the city, strangled its economy, and imprisoned opposition figures including Gui Minhai. 

Gui Minhai was detained in 2015 by the Chinese state at his holiday apartment in Thailand and five years later, he was sentenced to ten years in prison for a series of alleged crimes.

In his incomparable collection of poems “I draw a door on the wall with my finger” (Kaunitz-Olsson 2020), Gui Minhai describes his time in prison and how he was deprived of his human rights. The war came suddenly, he writes, as an “Attack on a small fish in the river with warships”.

According to Foreign Minister Ann Linde, silent diplomacy is underway to get Gui Minhai released and although he in China has been deprived of his Swedish citizenship it is a tactic to spread fear. Aftonbladet states that Sweden, the EU, and also the business community must work hard against China’s terror propaganda so Gui Minhai’s family will not have to wait another ten years to be reunited.

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