Group calls on China to release imprisoned writer

  • By Lu Yi-hsuan / Staff Reporter

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international media freedom group, yesterday called on democratic countries to pressure China to release Gui Minhai (桂民海), a Swedish publisher and writer of of Chinese origin based in Hong Kong, who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for “illegal provision of intelligence abroad”.

Gui disappeared in October 2015 while on vacation in Thailand and reappeared in detention in China in a video in which he appears to be making a forced confession, claiming he was involved in a fatal road accident and that distributed unlicensed books.

He was sentenced to prison in 2020 for espionage.

Photo: Reuters

“By failing to act strongly enough for Gui Minhai, the international community has allowed the Chinese regime to arrogate to itself the right to kidnap people anywhere in the world, to deny their right to consular protection and to arbitrarily detain them in all impunity,” said RSF’s East Asia bureau chief. says Cedric Alviani.

“We call on democracies, especially the Swedish government, EU member states and the European Commission to increase pressure on China and do everything in their power to finally release the detained publisher” , said RSF Sweden President Erik Halkjaer.

Gui’s daughter, Angela, has not heard from him for the past four years, RSF said.

“My father’s imprisonment, which is illegal even under Chinese law, should terrify us all,” she said, according to an RSF statement. “Holding China accountable for its crimes requires matching words to actions.”

RSF said it submitted its case to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

On November 15, 2019, he received the Tucholsky Prize from the Swedish section of PEN International, an association that defends freedom of expression around the world.

According to RSF, Gui Minhai is one of five Hong Kong editors who were abducted at the end of 2015. Today marks the seventh year since his abduction while on vacation in Thailand.

RSF said he was released from prison in 2017, remaining under residential surveillance, but in 2018 he was arrested on a train to Beijing while accompanied by two Swedish diplomats, and allegedly forced to to renounce his Swedish nationality.

China is the world’s biggest kidnapper of journalists, with at least 116 detained, RSF says on its website.

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