China confirms arrest of bookseller Gui Minhai

Sweden condemns China's'brutal seizure of bookseller Gui Minhai

Sweden condemns China's'brutal seizure of bookseller Gui Minhai

Wallstrom's statement marks a tougher stance from Sweden two weeks after 10 Chinese security agents seized Gui as he traveled to Beijing accompanied by two consular officials to seek medical treatment.

Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström on Monday called the seizure a "brutal intervention" that was "in contravention of basic global rules on consular support".

Western officials say they had assurances early this year from China's foreign ministry that Gui's liberty had been restored, but agents believed to be from China's state security apparatus, possibly fearing that Gui would leave the country, seized him a second time in January.

"Because of the violation of Chinese laws, the relevant Chinese authorities have taken criminal compulsory measures against Gui Minhai", foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing, referring to a form of detention.

The Chinese spokesman said: "The Swedish side should know well about the seriousness of the case, as well as the disgraceful roles that certain Swedish people played in the case". At the time, speculation swirled in publishing circles that Gui was on the verge of releasing a new book about a former mistress of the Chinese president, explaining the all-out efforts to silence him.

USA state department spokeswoman Heather Nauert and European Union ambassador Hans Dietmar Schweisgut have also called on China to immediately release Mr Gui.

"China will never accept the irresponsible remarks made by the Swedish side and we strongly require the Swedish side to refrain from doing the things that will undermine mutual respect and overall picture of the bilateral relations".

Mr Gui was one of five Hong Kong booksellers whose disappearances symbolised China's determination to enforce a hard line on political dissent and a free press, despite global criticism. He eventually surfaced at an undisclosed location in China, confessing to involvement in a fatal traffic accident and smuggling illegal books into the mainland.

Gui Minhai first went missing in October 2015.

Doctors in Ningbo where Gui has been living said her father may have the neurological disease ALS - he had been on his way to Beijing to see a Swedish specialist.

"Under Chinese laws, there is no legal justification that prevents Gui from departing", Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International's East Asia Regional Director, said.

"Given reports of Gui Minhai's deteriorating health, it is crucial that Gui Minhai receives adequate health care, is granted consular access, and can meet laywers of his own choosing", Nee told AFP.

Beijing was widely criticized after veteran rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo died from liver cancer while on medical parole in July a year ago.

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