BEIJING – China said on Monday that bookseller and activist Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen arrested last month, had made allegations of manipulation against Sweden of his own accord and he was not forced to do so by Chinese authorities.
Gui, a Swedish citizen of Chinese origin, was arrested on Jan. 20 while traveling to Beijing by train along with diplomatic staff from the Swedish embassy in China, for a medical check-up at the embassy.
“He accepted this interview by the press,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told journalists in Beijing and added that the detainee “clearly expressed his attitude and his wishes.”
In a media appearance organized by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security on Friday, the bookseller, who continues to be under arrest, criticized Sweden.
He said that Sweden had not given him information about the medical appointment, such as which doctors were going to see him.
He added that he was told about meeting a Swedish expert on China and another person from an American foundation.
The bookseller said that he could have become a “chess piece” for Sweden.
It is common in China for officials under investigation or convicted in corruption cases to publicly express remorse, so that the international media has questioned whether Gui made the statement voluntarily.
The bookseller, owner of a publishing house specializing in books critical of the Communist Party of China, disappeared from Thailand towards the end of 2015 and reappeared months later under detention in China, where authorities accused him and five other booksellers of selling books banned in the country.