Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs’ Q&A with Chinese netizens

The Swedish Minster for Foreign Affairs, Mr Carl Bildt, arrived in Beijing on December 6th for political talks and to participate in the Stockholm – China Forum.


Carl Bildt answers questions on Weibo. (Photo: Lu Hengyi)

In the afternoon of December 6th the Minsiter was available for questions on the Chinese microblog Sina Weibo. 222 questions were submitted, of which Bildt managed to answer 49 in the one hour long interview session.

There was particular interest in questions concerning visas, studies and work in Sweden, and the new Chinese leadership. However, there were also questions concerning the Nobel prize, corruption, integration politics and the Swedish tax system.

Here are some of questions and answers from the session.

@蓝绿极光: What is the difference between Socialism and Capitalism in your eyes? Is Sweden a socialist country or capitalist one?
Bildt: Our political system is an open and free democracy, and then we have an open market economy which I guess you would call capitalist.

@Emily在北纬57度: Your blog is famous in Sweden, do you intend to share the site to the Chinese? With the help of Google translate, I am sure many of us can grasp the core idea of your posts.
Bildt: Yes, my blog is rather popular in Sweden, but unfortunately it does not seem to be possible to access it from here. I just tried but failed.

@好脾气懒猫: What and how Sweden and the European Union plan to help China to improve human rights issues, especially the issue of freedom of expression?
Bildt: We certainly make our views known, but we also try to help with the development of and respect for human rights laws.

@Petit-Saya:I’ve heard that there’s tremendous usage of English language in Sweden, from popular music, films to news, and without any subtitles or translations. Will this impact the Swedish culture?
Bildt: It’s true that there is a lot of English, since we are a very globalised country, but I don’t think this has weakened our own culture.

@Lawrence_Xu3399: What can be done to shorten or to make the approval process more transparent for Swedish companies who are considering making their products available on the Chinese market?
Bildt: That’s really a question to the Chinese authorities. I would be interested in their answer, since there is clearly room for improvement.

@那个名词的资源: As far as I’m concerned, the index has ranked the Nordic countries among the world’s happiest countries. I would like to ask what sort of things get the Swedes to be worried about.
Bildt: I guess people in Sweden have many of the same worries as people all over the world, although we are fortunate in having had peace and developed a good political and economic system.

@叫我土猫: What are the normal Swedes’ understandings of China? How do they think of our country?
Bildt: I think people have a good picture of China. They are curious, and may of course have questions concerning aspects of your society.

You can read the questions and and answeres in full here (the questions are in Chinese).

During the day Minister Bildt also met with the Vice Minsiter of Foreign Affairs, Mr Zhang Zhijun, as well as Chinese and international economists.

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