Swedish publishers call on China to release imprisoned bookseller Gui Minhai

A previous show of support outside the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm. Stock photography. Photo: Anders Wiklund / TT

More than twenty Swedish publishers and writers have, in an open letter to the new Chinese ambassador to Sweden, demanded the release of the Chinese-Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai, who is serving ten years in prison for having illegally provided information abroad.

Gui Minahi was born in Ningbo, China in 1964 and came to Sweden as a young student. He then obtained permanent residency in Sweden before returning to Hong Kong where he opened a bookstore and established a publishing house. He is the author of many books related to Chinese politics, Chinese political figures and is known to have previously published books on the personal lives of members of the Chinese Communist Party. At that time, Hong Kong was a democratic respite from the one-party state, but the Chinese state has since taken an iron grip on the city under President Xi Jinping, strangling its economy and imprisoning prominent figures. the opposition, including Gui Minhai.

Gui Minhai was detained in 2015 by the Chinese state at his holiday apartment in Thailand and five years later was sentenced to ten years in prison for a series of alleged crimes.

The open letter was published in several major Swedish newspapers on January 31 and signed by 21 authors, literary figures and culture editors from major Swedish daily newspapers, as well as the Swedish editor of Gui, Martin Kaunitz.

The letter sends congratulations on the Chinese New Year and at the same time recalls the fate of the Swedish-Chinese publisher. The authors write, among other things:

“Mr. Ambassador, the name you will hear the most in Swedish-Chinese relations is Gui Minhai.

All Swedish (political) parties, free speech organizations and major Swedish newspapers demand that Gui Minhai be released immediately.

“We don’t want Gui Minhai to be forced to celebrate another New Year’s weekend in prison. We want you to expedite the release of Gui Minhai.

In the letter, the authors claim that China arrested Gui on “vague grounds”. The allegation that he provided intelligence to a foreign country “seems to have come out of nowhere and casts long shadows over China,” the authors say.

“Mr. Ambassador, we hope you will act differently from your predecessor, who often refused to respect freedom of expression. Moreover, he let his employees persecute Swedish mass and broadcast media with e -unpleasant emails write the authors.

China insists the Gui Minhai case is a domestic affair and has been stinged by criticism from Sweden.

Gui was born in China, which does not recognize dual nationality. Chinese authorities claimed he voluntarily restored his Chinese citizenship in 2018. Sweden insists he remains a citizen.

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