Sweden says China freed dissident publisher, but doubts emerge

Author: AFPTue, 2017-10-24 17:56ID: 1508874626246560700STOCKHOLM: Sweden said Tuesday China had informed it of the release of dissident publisher Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen who wrote political gossip books about Chinese leaders.However his daughter quickly cast doubt over the claim and said she had not yet heard from him.Gui, a 53-year-old Swedish citizen and a Hong Kong publisher who often wrote about leaders from the Chinese Communist Party, disappeared in 2015 while on vacation in Thailand and has been detained at an undisclosed location in China ever since.“We have received information from the Chinese authorities that he has been released,” Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman Sofia Karlberg told AFP, without specifying when Gui had been freed.But his daughter Angela Gui refuted the announcement and said she and her family have not heard anything from him or about his whereabouts.“Neither I nor any member of my family nor any of his friends have been contacted,” she said in a statement.On Twitter, she wrote: “Gui Minhai has disappeared again, likely by the Chinese government.”Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom tweeted that she was “seeking further clarification.”“It’s good news that he’s been released, if he has,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told TT news agency.“I assume (he has been released,” Lofven said, adding the Swedish foreign ministry was trying to contact Gui.In 2016, Gui appeared on Chinese television, weeping as he confessed he had committed a traffic violation.In another interview the same year, he also confessed to trying to smuggle illegal books into China.The Chinese foreign ministry told AFP that Gui had served his jail sentence over “a traffic accident” and “was released on October 17.”But Gui’s daughter said that when Swedish consular officers arrived at the undisclosed location in China on October 17, Chinese authorities said he “had already been released at midnight” and that they “had no idea where he was.”The Swedish consulate general in Shanghai on Monday received a “strange phone call from someone claiming to be” Gui Minhai, his daughter added.“He was speaking Swedish and claimed that he intended to apply for a Swedish passport in one or two months, but that before doing so he wanted to spend some time with his mother ‘who is ill,’” she said.“To my knowledge my grandmother is not ill. My father is not in fact with her.”Gui worked for the Mighty Current publishing house, which produced books about political intrigue and love affairs at the highest levels of Chinese politics.
Main category: World

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