Margot Wallstrom, the Swedish foreign minister, has strongly condemned China's brutal snatching of Gui Minhai, the book publisher and Swedish citizen, by Chinese authorities even with Swedish diplomats physically present at the scene. Minhai is one of the five book sellers in Hong Kong known for their publication of gossipy titles targeting Chinese political leaders.
The 53-year-old was arrested from a train which he boarded for traveling to Beijing. For Gui, this was the second time he was abducted by the Chinese authorities. Beijing first took him in 2015 while he was holidaying in Thailand. The publisher resurfaced a few days later in China where he confessed to being involved in a traffic accident. He also admitted to smuggling illegal books.
According to the Chinese authorities, Gui was released in October. Angela Gui, the publisher's daughter, said that the official statement is a lie. The 23-year-old student said that her father was kept under a kind of loose house arrest in Ningbo, a city located in eastern China. A few of their relatives continue to live in Ningbo. The European Union and United States have asked for the immediate release of Minhai. His abduction started a diplomatic spat between Beijing and Stockholm.
Hong Kong civil society has been subjected to increasing pressure from the time when Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, ascended to power in 2012. From then on, Beijing has rounded up large numbers of activists and also lawyers.
Not long to die
Angela Gui is apprehensive that her father will be placed on trial. She is afraid that he may get a longer sentence. This could jeopardize the elderly person's health. Doctors in Ningbo said he could suffer from ALS, the neurological disease. He was on his way to see a specialist in Beijing. Angela said that in case her father is suffering from ALS, he may not live much longer. She said that the international community must be more active in this matter. She is frustrated that her father could not escape from Chinese clutches earlier.
Intimidation of this kind is common in China. Beijing was sharply criticized after Liu Xiabo, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and known rights activist died due to liver cancer when he went on a medical parole in 2017. Rights groups have wanted him to seek medical treatment outside China.