China complains to Sweden over ‘interfering’ demand for bookseller’s release
Sweden’s requests for Gui Minhai’s freedom amount to ‘rude’ meddling in China’s judicial sovereignty, Chinese foreign ministry says
China said Monday it had complained to Sweden over its “rude interference” in China’s judicial sovereignty over the detention of bookseller Gui Minhai, who in an arranged media interview last week blamed Sweden for his ordeal.
Gui, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen, was seized by Chinese agents last month while travelling on a train with Swedish diplomats apparently trying to escort him out of the country.
“Gui Minhai breached Chinese laws, which must be handled accordingly,”�foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
“The Swedish side’s continued requests that China release [Gui] is a rude and unreasonable interference in China’s judicial sovereignty. China has made solemn representations with Sweden many times.
Asked if Gui had voluntarily appeared in the interview arranged by the public security ministry, Geng only said Gui’s “personal attitude and intention have been clearly expressed” in the interview, which was held Friday, according to the handful of selected Hong Kong and Chinese news media who were invited to attend.
Gui, who owned a bookstore that published and sold gossipy titles about Chinese leaders, was one of five booksellers in Hong Kong whose sudden disappearance in 2015 prompted fears that one or more had been kidnapped by Chinese agents and taken to the mainland to be punished for selling books banned in China.
After his official release from detention in October, Gui was seized again last month aboard a Beijing-bound train while accompanied by Swedish diplomats who were said to be taking him to seek medical treatment abroad for early onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable muscle-wasting sickness also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to his daughter in Britain.
Gui said in the interview that some Swedish politicians had used him as a “chess piece” for their political gain by luring him to flee from China, where he now hoped to live.
It is believed Gui’s latest detention stems from suspicions that he leaked state secrets and intelligence.
But his daughter Angela, who is studying in Britain and campaigning for his release, has cast doubt on the allegation, saying it is not possible that Gui could have leaked any secrets while under detention in the past two years.
Following the interview, Sweden has repeated its demand for Gui’s freedom.