Chinadaily / BEIJING, Feb 10 – Gui Minhai, a Swedish national and Hong Kong bookseller, was detained again recently by Chinese police over suspected violations of Chinese law, about three months after his release from a Chinese prison.
Gui was freed on Oct 17, 2017 after completing a two-year term over his drunken driving which killed a person more than a decade ago. He turned himself in to police in the Chinese mainland in 2015.
As Chinese authorities continued investigation into Gui’s suspected illegal business operation, he was not allowed to leave the country according to law.
“When I was released, my illegal business operation case has not been put to an end. I resume an inmate’s life, for which to a large extent, my thanks should be given to the Swedish government and you,” said Gui in a letter he wrote on Jan 27 to the Swedish ambassador to Beijing.
After his release, Gui said in a letter of commitment to police in Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang Province, that he would continue cooperation with authorities on the investigation into the illegal business case and would inform authorities if he leaves the city.
However, on Jan 20, accompanied by two Swedish diplomats, Gui suddenly arrived in Shanghai riding a car with a diplomatic plate, and then boarded a high-speed train bound for Beijing.
According to Chinese police, Gui took with him many information materials concerning state secrets and was suspected of illegally providing state secrets and intelligence overseas and endangering state security.
Police contacted him many times and demanded he return and receive investigation, but the accompanying Swedish diplomats asked Gui to refuse cooperation. When the high-speed train stopped at Jinan West Railway Station in Shandong Province, police took Gui away and put him under custody according to law.
Some overseas media and Western countries such as Sweden pointed fingers at China over Gui’s case, accusing China of violating international norms and interfering with consular affairs.
On Feb 9, Gui applied to authorities and asked to speak the truth before media. Xinhua reporters interviewed him at his detention place in Ningbo.
“When I was in Sweden, they paid little attention to me. I felt I was not recognized by local Swedes,” said Gui. “The Swedish have done this just out of their political purposes and to meet the need of some political figures for the 2018 elections in Sweden.”
Gui said he had a Swedish nationality, but he did not live in Sweden almost in the past decade. Instead, he lived in Germany. It was just after he surrendered to Chinese police and especially his release that the Swedish government began to pay special attention to him, according to Gui.
“I do not want the Swedish side to continue hyping up my case. I have seen through the Swedish government. I may consider giving up my Swedish nationality if it continues to do so,” said Gui.
“Under Sweden’s continual instigation, I broke the law again. My happy life was destroyed,” said Gui. “I just simply hope that my family will not be taken advantage of and I can stay in China to live a peaceful life.”
During the three months after his release, Gui lived in a rented house in Ningbo and attended to his aged mother with his three sisters. “I feel like returning to my childhood and the life is really happy.”
To accompany his mother, Gui applied for a residence permit to local police and the permit was approved.
Shortly afterwards, the Swedish side contacted Gui frequently and attempted to help him leave China, dispatching consulate staff to Ningbo to persuade him and offering him plans to go with them to Sweden.
“They told me I was just one step away from success. As long as I take the step, I will succeed in returning to Sweden,” said Gui.
Gui suffered muscle atrophy in the hands. But the Swedish side claimed he suffered amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), asking him not to receive treatment in China and promising to send him back to Sweden for treatment.
In November 2017, Gui’s family contacted a local key hospital in Ningbo to carry out a checkup of Gui. The doctors said his muscle atrophy was caused by cervical spondylosis.
Recently, five senior orthopedics and neurology doctors from Ningbo and Shanghai also ruled out the ALS disease for Gui, giving a diagnosis similar to that of the Ningbo hospital.
“Helping me treat my illness is just an excuse. Their purpose is to bring me back to Sweden as soon as possible,” said Gui.
“I have lost trust in the Swedish government. I hope I handle my issue on my own,” he said.
On Jan 20, China’s public security authorities informed the Embassy of Sweden of Gui’s case through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shortly after Gui’s arrest. China’s foreign affairs authorities also informed their Swedish counterparts about Gui’s case.
On Jan 30, the Public Security Bureau of Ningbo visited the Consulate General of Sweden in Shanghai to inform Gui’s case and his recent condition, and delivered Gui’s letter to the ambassador.