China frees Swedish NGO worker over national security charge

China releases Swedish NGO worker detained on national security charges as another Swede still remains in custody

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem is pictured during a joint press conference.

Swedish Foreign Ministry said China has freed a Swedish man taken into custody this month on suspicion of acts harmful to the country’s national security. 

Peter Dahlin, co-founder of the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, together with his girlfriend Pan Jinling, were detained around the same time, however he was expelled from China on Monday and has left for Sweden, Michael Caster, a spokesman for his group said in a statement.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry also announced that it remained concerned about its citizen Gui Minhai, a Hong Kong-based bookseller who disappeared last October in Thailand.

However, Gui appeared on Chinese state television this month, saying he had surrendered to the authorities due to a fatal drunk driving charge from more than a decade ago.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said she welcomed Dahlin’s release, though expressed concern over Gui in a statement.  

"Meanwhile, I am greatly concerned over the detained Swedish citizen Gui Minhai," Wallstrom said, adding that Sweden was working to get clarity on his situation and an opportunity to visit him.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no comment.

Concerns have mounted over the disappearance of Gui and other booksellers with fears that mainland Chinese authorities may be applying shadowy tactics that degrade the “one country, two systems" system under which Hong Kong has been ruled since it returned to China from British rule in 1997.   

TRTWorld, Reuters