Thursday, February 8, 2018
On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed they had detained Hong Kong-based bookseller Gui Minhai. Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said, “Gui Minhai broke Chinese law and has already been subjected to criminal coercive measures in accordance with the law by relevant Chinese authorities”.
According to Minhai’s daughter, Chinese police arrested Gui in Beijing in January. 53-year-old Minhai, who was diagnosed with a progressive neurodegenerative disease, was travelling to the Chinese capital to see a Swedish doctor. Minhai holds dual citizenship of Sweden and China, and has written about the Chinese Communist Party leaders of China, amongst them Xi Jinping, the president of China. Geng Shuang in his statement said, “I want to once again stress that China opposes any form of speech or actions that ignore China’s legal sovereignty.”
On Monday, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom stated, “Chinese action was contrary to basic international rules on consular support.” “The current situation also raises questions about the application of the rule of law, including the prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of liberty. We demand that our citizen be given the opportunity to meet Swedish diplomatic and medical staff, and that he be released so that he can be reunited with his daughter and family”, Wallstorm added.
In October 2015, Gui disappeared in Thailand, and months later, he was found in China and stated he had surrendered for a 2003 case of driving under the influence of alcohol, in which reportedly a student died. He was imprisoned for two years, and was released in October, last year. He was not permitted to leave China.
Geng Shuang said, “Although Gui Minhai is a Swedish citizen, the case he is involved in must be handled in accordance with Chinese law. China and Sweden are maintaining open communication channels on this case.”