Hong Kong bookseller disappearances

China lets Swedish doctor see detained bookseller Gui Minhai seven months after his arrest

Gui was snatched in January while travelling on a train to Beijing with two Swedish diplomats

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2018, 12:38am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 August, 2018, 11:03pm

China has allowed a Swedish doctor to examine publisher Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swede who vanished into Chinese custody in January in murky circumstances for a second time, Sweden said on Monday.

“Swedish medical personnel have on Monday, August 13, been able to carry out a visit with detained Swedish citizen Gui Minhai. This is welcome,” Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement.

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Gui was one of five Hong Kong-based booksellers – known for publishing gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders – who disappeared in 2015 and resurfaced in mainland China.

He was released in October, but arrested on a train to Beijing in January while travelling with two Swedish diplomats. He was reportedly en route to see a Swedish specialist over fears he had the neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Wallstrom, who provided no details about Gui’s condition or Monday’s medical visit, reiterated Sweden’s call for him to be freed, saying “Gui Minhai must be released and be allowed to reunite with his family.”

Sweden was continuing its “intensive work” in the matter, and the medical visit would be “followed up in several different ways”, she said.

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Gui, 54, first disappeared in 2015 while on holiday in Thailand. He eventually surfaced at an undisclosed location in China, confessing to involvement in a fatal traffic accident and smuggling illegal books into the mainland.

Chinese authorities declared they had released him in October but his daughter Angela Gui said at the time that he was under “loose house arrest” in Ningbo.

In February, after his second disappearance, Gui appeared in a video interview confessing to wrongdoing and accusing his adopted country Sweden of manipulating him like a “chess piece”.

An exchange between Gui Minhai’s daughter and the Post’s editor-in-chief

It was unclear whether that statement was made under duress, but video of his confession showed him flanked by two police officers. A close friend said the remarks were “not to be believed”.

The Chinese embassy in Sweden said in February that Gui was being held in a detention centre in the city.