Hong Kong bookseller who sold books critical of Chinese political leaders jailed for 10 years

Gui Minhai, who had been missing since October.

A Hong Kong bookseller who sold texts critical of Chinese political leaders, and who has previously been abducted in a Thai beach resort before resurfacing in detention in mainland China, is jailed for 10 years.

A Chinese court has sentenced Chinese-born Swedish citizen Gui Minhai to 10 years in jail for illegally providing intelligence overseas, prompting a protest from Stockholm.

Key points:

  • Gui Minhai is one of five booksellers linked to a Hong Kong bookshop who disappeared in late 2015
  • He was awarded a free speech award by Sweden in 2019, which Chinese officials objected to
  • Sweden is demanding consular access to Gui, but Chinese officials say visits have been put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak

Gui, a bookseller previously based in Hong Kong who sold books critical of China’s political leadership, was detained by mainland police in 2018.

He was seized while with Swedish diplomats on a Beijing-bound train.

Relations between Sweden and China soured in the months leading up to the sentencing, with Chinese officials warning Swedish counterparts against meddling in China’s internal affairs.

Sweden summoned the Chinese ambassador to Stockholm to protest against the sentence and demand Gui’s release.

“We have summoned China’s ambassador to our cabinet secretary and again demanded the release of, and consular access to, our citizen,” a foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said Gui should be released, a position Sweden has held throughout.

“We also require access to our citizen to provide the consular support he is entitled to,” Ms Linde said.

“We have not had access to or knowledge of any trial. Thus, we have not been able to review the indictment nor been able to offer access to legal counsel,” she said.

Full Story: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-26/hong-kong-bookseller-gui-minhai-jailed-for-10-years/12001008

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