How the Case of a Hong Kong Bookseller Has Soured China’s Ties With Sweden

How the Case of a Hong Kong Bookseller Has Soured China’s Ties With Sweden
Freed Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee stands next to a placard with a picture of Gui Minhai, Hong Kong, June 18, 2016 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

A court in eastern China on Monday sentenced a Chinese-born Swedish bookseller to 10 years in prison for “illegally providing intelligence” to overseas parties. Gui Minhai’s case drew international attention to the lengths that Beijing is willing to go to silence criticism, even from abroad, while souring ties between China and Sweden.

Gui was part-owner of Mighty Current Media, a Hong Kong-based publishing house known for its politically sensitive books about top Chinese Communist Party leaders. In 2015, he mysteriously vanished from his vacation home in Thailand, only to reappear months later on Chinese state television, delivering a “scripted confession in which he suggested he had secretly smuggled himself to China to turn himself in for his involvement in a 2003 car crash,” The Washington Post reports. Gui was released from custody a year later but was not allowed to leave China. In 2018, he was snatched from a train outside Beijing by Chinese plainclothes police officers, despite being escorted by Swedish diplomats.

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