Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.
Sweden’s ambassador to China was recalled to Stockholm last Thursday and is under investigation for allegedly brokering a meeting between two mysterious businessmen and Angela Gui, the daughter of a Hong Kong-based Swedish bookseller who has been in Chinese custody for three years. It is the latest in a string of puzzling episodes involving foreign diplomats in China.
The story can be traced back to 2015, when Gui’s father, who published politically sensitive books about top Communist Party leaders, vanished from his vacation home in Thailand. He reappeared months later in an apparently rehearsed appearance on Chinese state television, in which he confessed to being involved in a fatal hit-and-run car accident 11 years earlier. He was briefly freed almost two years later, only to be detained again in 2018, snatched from a train outside Beijing by Chinese plainclothes officers despite being escorted by Swedish diplomats.