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Ambassador Gui Congyou Gives Exclusive Interview with Dagens industri on Current China-Sweden Relations
2019/12/19

On 18 December, Ambassador Gui Congyou gave an exclusive interview with reporters from Dagens industri at the Embassy on the current China-Sweden relations. The main content of the interview is as follows:

Ambassador Gui first said, I know you are all very interested in the current China-Sweden relationship, and I would like to elaborate China's relevant positions. First of all, the basic principle of China's foreign policy is to develop friendly relations with all other countries, carry out exchanges and cooperation in various fields, develop a global partnership network, and promote the building of a community of shared future for mankind. Second, China never interferes in other countries' internal affairs, never harms other countries' interests, and never poses a threat to other countries. At the same time, China is firmly opposed to foreign interference in China's internal affairs and harm to China's interests. The 1.4 billion Chinese people will never swallow the bitter pill of any foreign words or deeds that harm China's interests. Third, the Chinese people and media have never accused, attacked or discredited Sweden without cause, and have always maintained goodwill and friendly sentiment towards Sweden and the Swedish people. But some Swedish media and people are accusing, attacking and discrediting China without any foundation all the time, which equals returning kindness with enmity. Not long ago, some people in Sweden chose to ignore the Chinese side's repeated admonitions and insisted on interfering in China's internal affairs and judicial sovereignty. They must take responsibility for and bear the consequences of the current severe difficulties in China-Sweden relations. Fourth, we urge the Swedish side to reflect seriously and immediately stop any words or deeds that interfere in China's internal affairs and judicial sovereignty, so as to bring China-Sweden relations back on the right track.

Q: Mr. Ambassador, not long ago, you indicated that China will impose trade sanctions on Sweden. Can you be more specific?

Ambassador Gui: The Swedish government and the media have already known that the Chinese side canceled the meeting of the China-Sweden Joint Committee on Economic, Industrial, and Technical Cooperation, originally scheduled to be held in Stockholm on 10 December, because of the gross interference of the Swedish side in China's internal affairs. As far as I know, Chinese business delegations also canceled their plans to visit Sweden recently.

Q: Can you specify these Chinese companies? What are they planning to do in Sweden? Will related meetings be held in the future?

Ambassador Gui: These are companies engaged in trade and investment cooperation. I don't know the specific situation. The Chinese government does not interfere in the specific operations of enterprises.

Q: You said before that the Swedish side must bear the consequences. Apart from the cancellation of the Joint Committee meeting and the business visits you mentioned, are there any other consequences?

Ambassador Gui: There is no doubt that the Swedish side has to take full responsibility and bear the consequences.

Q: Media reports say the Wallenberg family has many interests in China. Should they be worried about the situation? How should the Swedish business community see the current situation and how should they be prepared for this?

Ambassador Gui: The Wallenberg family is not the only one to have investment and trade in China. More than 10,000 companies in Sweden have trade relations with China, and more than 600 Swedish companies have invested and set up factories in China. The current difficult situation in China-Sweden relations is caused by a very small number of people in Sweden who grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and judicial sovereignty, and the Swedish government supported them. Responsibility falls on those who harm China's interests and interfere in China's internal affairs as well as those who support them. We welcome those who are willing to conduct friendly cooperation with China.

Q: What should Sweden do to repair the current Sweden-China relationship?

Ambassador Gui: This is a good question. I just said that we hope the Swedish side will reflect seriously and immediately stop any words or deeds that interfere in China's internal affairs and judicial sovereignty. We urge the Swedish side to take proactive measures to correct mistakes and repair the severely damaged China-Swedish relations. Svenska PEN grossly interfered in China's internal affairs, and issued an award of "freedom of speech" to a criminal who committed a severe traffic offense in China and suspected of illegally providing Chinese state secrets and intelligence to foreign entities. And the Culture Minister of Sweden have openly supported this. It is a big mistake, and must be corrected by the erring persons. Only in this way can China-Sweden relations get back on the right track. Now the ball is on the court of the Swedish side. We will wait and see.

Q: If Sweden does not act according to what China says, will there be more consequences?

Ambassador Gui: That depends on the performance of those who harm China's interests and interfere in China's internal affairs. We will wait and see.

Q: Sweden has freedom of expression. Why can't Chinese people enjoy the freedom of speech like Swedish people?

Ambassador Gui: Who told you that the Chinese people don't enjoy freedom of speech? Do you see how many radio and television stations and self-media outlets there are in China? I don't know how you reach such a wrong conclusion. Have you ever been to China? Have any Chinese people told you that they do not have freedom of speech? This is just an example of the obstacles created by some Swedish media and people for China-Sweden relations. According to their logic, we should also have freedom of speech and be allowed to speak out. Then why would my colleagues and I be criticized when we speak out? When I took office, I hoped to publish an article in the Swedish media to express the friendship of the Chinese government and people towards the Swedish government and people and the willingness of China to develop good bilateral relations with Sweden, but no Swedish media was willing to publish it. Some Swedish media outlets publish statements to attack and discredit China all the time, but wouldn't let the Chinese ambassador publish an article to show friendship towards Sweden. Is this "freedom of speech" in Sweden?

Q: Speaking of freedom of expression, the Swedish citizen Gui Minhai, if I got the correct information, still has not received a trial. Why does the Chinese side deny him of basic human rights?

Ambassador Gui: The information you received is wrong. The Gui Minhai case is in no way a human rights case. Over ten years ago, he killed a young college girl in China while drunk driving without a license late at night. It constitutes a criminal offense and he should be held accountable to the law in China. Would you tell me that such a person that committed a criminal offense would be called a "human rights activist" according to Swedish law? Over one year ago, he was again arrested for being suspected of illegally providing state secrets and intelligence to overseas entities. The Chinese police has been dealing with this case according to law and legal procedures, and the Chinese judicial authorities will certainly start a trial and reach a judgment according to law and legal procedures. This is judicial sovereignty of China, and it does not allow any foreign interference.

Q: Is he alive? No one knows where he is.

Ambassador Gui: You are really worrying yourself over nothing. He is not only alive, but also living quite well. In August last year, the Chinese side agreed to letting a Swedish doctor visit Gui Minhai in China and give treatment to him. Whether Gui Minhai is living and how he is living is a question that needs to be asked to the Swedish doctor that have visited Gui Minhai. When some Swedish media outlets and politicians circulate all kinds of rumors of Gui Minhai being treated inhumanely, the Swedish doctor that did see Gui Minhai remained silent. It gives us an impression that on China-related topics rumors and fake news are everywhere, but no one says things that are objective and fair.

Q: DI is about economic news, so I am very interested in how the Swedish business community should look at the current situation. If the Swedish government does not act as you said, how should the business community be prepared?

Ambassador Gui: I am glad to have read the comments by the CEO and Chairman of a shipping company in Gothenburg and Volvo Car on China-Sweden relations and cooperation with China on Di recently. Their remarks are representative of the views of the Swedish business community on China-Sweden relations. I would like to draw your attention to their remarks.

Q: The government trade delegation and business delegation of China did not come to Sweden. Do you know when they will come?

Ambassador Gui: The Chinese delegations have not considered when they will come. It is totally up to the attitude of the Swedish side.

Q: Relations between China and Sweden have deteriorated in the past years. In what way is it good for China?

Ambassador Gui: Since modern times, China has been suffering from invasion, occupation and division by Western powers for over 100 years. It was after 28 years of arduous struggle by the whole Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and the sacrifice of millions of lives, that China won its sovereignty and independence. The 1.4 billion Chinese people hold our national sovereignty and independence as dear as their life. No country, organization or individual should expect 1.4 billion Chinese people to swallow the bitter consequences of damaging our national sovereignty, security and development interests. The current difficulties in China-Sweden relations are not something the Chinese side wants to see, but we must firmly fight back when some Swedish people grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and judicial sovereignty. I guess you do not speak Chinese. I suggest that you find a Swedish friend that speaks Chinese to tell you what the lyrics of the Chinese national anthem are. It goes "Rise, You who refuse to be slaves. With our very flesh and blood Let us build our new Great Wall." When our national sovereignty and security is being violated, the Chinese people will protect it even at the expense of their lives. So no country, organization or individual should expect the 1.4 billion Chinese people to swallow the bitter consequences of damaging China's sovereignty and national interests. Sweden used to be a dominant power in this part of the world, and has never been subject to occupation, division and enslavement by foreign powers, so it is possible that Sweden cannot feel such sentiments of the Chinese people. There are some people in Sweden that do not know much about China. My suggestion is that they need to learn some Chines history, especially the history from modern times when Chinese people fighting against foreign invasion, enslavement and occupation and the CPC leading the Chinese people to win national sovereignty and independence, to understand China and the sentiments of Chinese people from the perspective of this period of history. What the Chinese side wants from China-Sweden relations is only one word--equality. How are some Swedish media outlets and politicians in a position to accuse and attack China all the time? Who are they to point fingers at China's internal affairs and interfere in our judicial sovereignty all the time? Who gave them the right to do so? A basic principle of international law and norms governing international relations is non-interference in other countries' internal affairs. So we hope they will immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs, make deep reflections and correct the mistakes.

Q: According to media reports, the Wallenberg family visited China multiple times and met the leadership of China. Did Mr. Ambassador discuss trade between China and Sweden with the Wallenberg family?

Ambassador Gui: We are good friends, but I never talked about China-Sweden trade issues with him, because I as Ambassador do not interfere in the specific business of companies. I read the statement by Mr. Wallenberg from media, I appreciate his attitude of using dialogue to address differences, build up mutual understanding and seek common grounds. It is hoped that those that attack, smear and interfere in China's internal affairs will learn from him.

Q: This is the last question. Does Mr. Ambassador have anything to add to the topic of trade between China and Sweden?

Ambassador Gui: No. I hope to reiterate that the ball is on the court of the Swedish side, and we will wait and see.

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