An online advertisement for car manufacturer Volvo featuring Swedish football superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic became an overnight sensation when it was released in late January, racking up millions of hits on YouTube. In the video, part of the carmaker's "Made in Sweden" campaign, Ibrahimovic is seen in the far north of the country, hunting, diving into icy water and showing off his tattooed torso - all with a reworked version of the Swedish national anthem playing in the background.
But what looks like a Swedish dream is, in reality, a Chinese nightmare, says activist group Supporting Human Rights in China (SHRC). Since China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group bought Volvo, in 2010, what was once a symbol of the country's engineering might has become Swedish in appearance only.
The activists, based in Uppsala, a university town just north of Stockholm, have made a spoof video of the original ad, showing where Volvo's money really ends up.
"Doing business with this regime of terror is to support abuse, torture and persecution," the group writes. "It is shameful wanting to associate your brand with the Chinese regime. It was shameful of Volvo to sell out a Swedish brand to them, and it is even more shameful to now give the appearance of Swedishness and Swedish values."
In the spoof video, a "Falun Gong member" is seen being tortured while tied to a hori-zontal bar in a scene resembling one in the original that shows Ibrahimovic doing pull-ups (left). In another parallel scene, a Tibetan monk is shot in a snow-covered field.
The last sentence of the national anthem: "I want to live, I want to die in the North", has been changed to: "I do not want to die, I want to live in freedom."
Reactions to the spoof video on Swedish social media have been mixed. Both Ibrahimovic and Volvo are national icons and the criticism undeniably hits a soft spot among the Swedish people. A social media user, Lena, accused the SHRC of being a propaganda megaphone for the Falun Gong movement, which, she said, is "just as tyrannical top down as China's Communist Party". Others argue that taking Swedishness to China is a way of getting Beijing to open up to the world.
The spook video also received broad support.
There has been no response from either Volvo or Ibrahimovic to the spoof yet but, looking at the result of the "Made in Sweden" campaign, they seem to have little to worry about. Sales of Volvo's XC model doubled thanks to the campaign, the company has said, with total sales in February booming - especially in Sweden and China.