“We expect the immediate release of our fellow citizen, and that he be given the opportunity to meet Swedish diplomatic and medical

That sentence pronounced by Minister for Foreign Affairs summarizes the amount of support that Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen and Hong Kong book publisher received from the Swedish government, after he was kidnapped by Chinese police while he was escorted by two Swedish diplomats on January 20, 2018.

Gui Minhai was traveling with the two diplomats to seek medical treatment at the Swedish Embassy in Beijing (China). He had already been abducted once by the Chinese authorities, while he was on a visit to Thailand on 17 October 2015, before being illegally brought back to China.

His only “crime” is to have published and circulated books that criticize members of the Chinese Communist Party, thus exercising his fundamental right to inform freely.

The reaction of the Swedish government regarding this blatant violation of the fundamental freedoms of one its citizen has been very weak.

On January 23, Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström called for Gui’s ” immediate release” and Chinese ambassadors in Stockholm have been summoned twice by the Minister, but no other public response has met this latest arbitrary arrest.

This is far from being enough to ensure Gui Minhai’s release. Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs must take concrete countermeasures to protect Gui Minhai.

Retaliatory measures, withdrawal of its own diplomats, unilateral diplomatic or economic sanctions, visa restrictions, etc. : these are only some of the many concrete measures that the Swedish government could implement to signify to China that it will not accept any
authoritarian treatment of its citizens.

China is invoking the “rule of law” for its actions when it is in fact implementing a dictatorial “rule by law.” We can’t tolerate the abandonment of a Swedish citizen by its government, which has already failed to provide him with sufficient help two years ago.

” Cultural or historical contexts are cited that enable the meaning of rights to be interpreted differently depending on where in the world a person lives or was born. This is an unfortunate trend that Sweden will forcefully counter. […] It is essential for the credibility of the EU that we practice what we preach; this is why Sweden will continue to push for human rights, democracy and the rule of law both within the EU and externally. 

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Madam Margot Wallström, do practice what you preach.

Take concrete measures for the release of Gui Minhai !