The EU’s ambassador to China has called on Beijing to release a book publisher after the Swedish citizen was snatched. The case of Hong Kong-based Gui Minhai has sparked a diplomatic row between Stockholm and Beijing.
The EU’s ambassador to China Hans Dietmar Schweisgut told a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday that the bloc expected the Chinese authorities to “immediately” release Swedish national Mr. Gui Minhai from detention.
“[They must] allow him to reunite with his family, get consular support and medical support,” Schweisgut said.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom on Tuesday called for Gui’s release, saying he should “be given the opportunity to meet Swedish diplomatic and medical personnel.”
Snatched on a train
Wallstrom said that Gui had again been “arrested by Chinese authorities” in the presence of diplomatic staff on Saturday.
Minhai’s daughter, Angela Gui, confirmed he had been detained by about 10 plainclothes police while on a train to Beijing from the eastern city of Ningbo, where he lives, to see a Swedish doctor after exhibiting symptoms of the neurological disease ALS.
Not the first time
Gui had been running a Hong Kong publishing company specializing in gossip about high-level Chinese politics when he disappeared from his Thai holiday home about two years ago.
He resurfaced at an undisclosed location in China.
The Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it was “not aware of the details” of the case and that the issue was out of its “remit.” It declined to give details about his whereabouts.
Amnesty International described the incident as “absolutely appalling” and called for Gui to be released and allowed to seek medical treatment.
The fact that he had been snatched in front of diplomats should be a “wake up call” to the international community, said Amnesty’s China researcher William Nee.
China was widely criticised after veteran Chinese rights activist and Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo died from liver cancer while on medical parole in December.
jbh/es (AFP, AP)