Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Sweden’s ex-China ambassador denies misconduct over meetings with daughter of detained bookseller

Sweden’s former ambassador to China has denied breaching national security over her involvement in a series of unauthorised meetings about detained bookseller Gui Minhai.

Anna Lindstedt is under investigation by the Swedish Prosecution Authority after she allegedly led negotiations to release a detained Swedish bookseller in exchange for his daughter’s silence.

Anna Lindstedt

Anna Lindstedt. Photo: Embassy of Sweden in China.

Lindstedt said she welcomed the investigation by Swedish authorities, according to media reports.

“Due to the investigation, we do not have any comments at the moment,” her appointed lawyer Conny Cedermark told HKFP.

Angela Gui has been campaigning for the release of her father Gui Minhai, who was among five Hong Kong-based booksellers affiliated with Causeway Bay Books, which sold political gossip titles. He disappeared in late 2015, only to reappear in mainland China “confessing” on state TV.

Angela Gui

Angela Gui. Photo: Sindre Deschington/Handout.

In a lengthy blog post, Angela Gui said that Lindstedt contacted her in January to discuss “a new approach” to securing the release of her father and invited her to a meeting with two businessmen who alleged to have connections to the Chinese Communist Party. Gui said when the group asked her to stop all media engagement she refused, adding: “I’m not going to be quiet in exchange for a visa and an arbitrary promise that my father ‘might’ be released. Threats, verbal abuse, bribes, or flattery won’t change that.”

The former diplomat left China last month. A new acting head of the mission has been assigned to the Swedish embassy in Beijing, pending the conclusion of the investigation.

HKFP has contacted the Swedish Prosecution Authority for comment.

Sweden's ex-China ambassador denies misconduct over meetings with daughter of detained bookseller