EU MPs urge China to release Swedish bookseller

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Brussels, Feb 23 (IANS) European Union MPs have written to Chinese President Xi Jinping demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai who was detained from a Beijing-bound bullet train last month suspected of leaking state secrets, the media reported.

On Thursday, the Guardian revealed how Gui had been travelling with Sweden’s consul general in Shanghai, Lisette Lindahl, when he was taken by plainclothes agents on January 20.

Later that day, Sweden’s Ambassador to China, Anna Lindstedt, received a call from a Chinese interlocutor who announced the China-born bookseller, a Swedish citizen since 1992, was suspected of leaking state secrets.

On Thursday, the total of 36 MPs, including politicians from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the UK and Sweden, wrote to the Chinese leader to voice “strong condemnation” over Gui’s plight and demanded that “he is protected from torture and other ill-treatment”.

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The MPs said their determination to free Gui had intensified after he was marched before the cameras on February 9 for a “highly coercive” confession, the Guardian reported.

“Gui is not the first European citizen to be wrongfully detained in China, but we aspire to make him the last one,” the letter said, pointing to the cases of Swedish activist Peter Dahlin and British investigator Peter Humphrey.

Such cases were “part of a disturbing pattern of repression” highlighting China’s growing inclination to ignore both domestic and international laws, the MPs added.

–IANS

ksk/bg

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