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Ambassador Gui Congyou Gives an Exclusive Interview with SVT's Agenda

On 31 January 2019, Ambassador Gui Congyou gave an exclusive interview to SVT anchor Anna Hedenmo. Following is the full text of the interview:

Anna Hedenmo: Mr. Ambassador, Welcome to SVT’s Agenda.

Gui Congyou: I am very glad to give an interview to SVT. I hope to convey the best wishes of the Chinese people, through SVT, to the people of Sweden.

Q: The US accused Huawei of stealing US technologies and violating US sanctions against Iran. What are your comments?

Gui Congyou: Huawei started from a small private company with only a dozen employees and has now developed to the largest telecommunications company in the world. Such achievements are attributed to the hard work of the Huawei people. They did not just fall from the sky. Nor are they bestowed by others, still less are they stolen from others. Huawei strictly complies with the laws of China and countries where they run business. Internally, Huawei has a strong compliance system. The allegations US made against Huawei have no factual grounds at all. They are nothing but attempts by the US to suppress Huawei with state instruments and smear the Chinese tech giant. What the US is doing is immoral, illegal and illegitimate. We strongly urge the US side to change its course of action and immediately stop such wrong behaviors.

Q: A number of other countries, besides the US, have announced that Huawei is banned from entering their telecommunication networks, to prevent Huawei from sharing their data with China’s intelligence services. Is this suspicion justified?

Gui Congyou: These suspicions are purely groundless speculations. It represents an act of hegemony that the US pressures its allies to follow its actions. We deeply regret to see that a small handful of countries chose to follow the US. At the same time, we have also noticed that the vast majority of countries around the world have a different view from the US, and their cooperation with Huawei went on as usual. It is because they know that Huawei supplies the most advanced telecommunication equipment in the world, and that they would be cast behind by the rapid technological development of the world if they exclude Huawei. The market will speak.

Q: In China, is every citizen obliged by law to cooperate with its intelligence institutions?

Gui Congyou: As a Chinese citizen myself, I am not aware of the existence of such laws. China does not have any laws that require companies and citizens to work with its intelligence services. What evidence do the accusers have to support such accusations? Huawei’s CEO has publicly said that the Chinese Government never asked them to work with Chinese intelligence services. The people that put out such claims are only trying to throw mud on China. These claims are ridiculous.

Q: Isn’t it true that China adopted such a law in 2017?

Gui Congyou: I did not see such a law that requires Chinese companies and citizens to work with intelligence agency. If one is interested, I recommend that he or she read the original text of China’s laws. If the nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people were required to work with intelligence agency, the situation would be unimaginable.

Q: Let’s talk about the Swedish citizen Gui Minhai. He has been kept in custody in China without trial for three years. When will he be released?

Gui Congyou: Gui Minhai committed serious crimes in both Sweden and China. The Swedish judicial authorities did not hold him accountable for his crimes. But China is a country of rule of law, and Chinese judicial authorities are holding him accountable in accordance with law. The fact is that Chinese judicial authorities have always handled the case according to law and legal procedures, rather than “keeping him in custody without trial” like some Swedish people claimed. All of his legal rights and interests have been guaranteed. Not only does Gui Minhai receive necessary medical services from Chinese doctors, the Chinese side also agreed to the Swedish side sending a Swedish doctor to diagnose Gui Minhai in China last August. In compliance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Chinese side has no objection to a visit by Swedish consular officers to Gui Minhai. But the key is whether Gui Minhai himself is willing to do so. As to when he will be released, it must be decided by the result of Chinese judicial authorities’ investigations, trial and verdict. This case is a consular case. But some Swedish people try to turn it into a political case and create difficulties for China-Sweden relations. We hope these people in Sweden will respect the principle of rule of law and the legal spirit.

Q: What are you accusing him of today?

Gui Congyou: Gui Minhai is suspected of illegally providing state secrets and intelligence to overseas. The case is being handled in accordance with law and legal procedures.

Q: When will the trial take place?

Gui Congyou: The foreign service of China and Sweden are maintaining close communications on the case of Gui Minhai. I have had meetings with colleagues from the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs almost every week on the case. The only way to resolve the case is for the Swedish side to respect Chinese judicial authorities handling the case according to law and legal procedures. Some Swedish people have lodged unjustified accusations against China on this case, which constitutes an interference in China’s judicial sovereignty and is completely unacceptable. The Chinese judicial system is fair and just.

Q: Excuse me Mr. Ambassador, you did not answer my question. When will the trial take place?

Gui Congyou: We must respect the result of Chinese judicial authorities handling the case according to law and legal procedures. No one is allowed to interfere in Chinese judicial authorities handling the case according to law and legal procedures. Your question should be answered by China’s law.

Q: But how can you justify keeping a person in custody year after year without a trial?

Gui Congyou: As I said, the Gui Minhai case is being handled in accordance with law and legal procedures, and we have maintained close communication with the Swedish side. The case itself is very complicated, and as a case involving a foreign national, it is also very sensitive. Chinese judicial authorities must ensure that the case is handled on the basis of facts, and the process and result of the investigation and trial are fair and just, and the whole process of handling and trial of the case strictly follow China’s law and legal procedures.

Q: Will you ever release him?

Gui Congyou: As I have already answered, the result must be decided by the law, which I am in no place to predict or interfere, nor are any Swedish people.

Q: Gui Minhai has more than once appeared on Chinese TV in what has been described as “forced confession”. According to human rights organizations, forced confessions are a violation of human rights and have become more frequent in China. How do you explain that?

Gui Congyou: As far as I know, the two appearances of Gui Minhai on TV where he talked about his crimes were requested by himself and agreed by Chinese judicial authorities. No one forced him. Did he ever say he was forced? The so-called claims of “Gui Minhai’s forced TV confessions” are purely ill-intentioned speculations and guesses made by people that do not know about Gui Minhai or his case. Such claims aim to attack and smear China. When it comes to Gui Minhai talking to media about how he committed the crimes and his reflections as well as whether he accepts Swedish consular officers’ visits, Chinese judicial authorities fully respect his personal willingness. I suggest that the people claiming Gui Minhai was “forced to make confessions on TV” carefully study China’s law, which criminalizes forced confession. In China, the whole process of law enforcement is open and transparent. If you are in China, you will know that throughout the process of a police officer enforcing the law, the whole process is recorded on camera to ensure transparency. If the suspect raises objections, the police must release the process of law enforcement to the public. I hope the people making accusations against China on the Gui Minhai case can fully understand that law enforcement in China is transparent and fair.

Q: Mr. Ambassador, Gui Minhai is not the only one facing such situation. There are several other examples of people who have claimed being forced to confess on TV.

Gui Congyou: As I said, the so-called “TV confessions” are all requested by themselves. When some people claim that Gui Minhai is forced by the Chinese side, what is their evidence? Did Gui Minhai say this? It is purely a speculation made by people that do nothing but sit in offices all day. These people either do not understand China’s judicial system, or they attempt to frame and smear China. I once again urge the people behind these ridiculous claims to go to China to see how the law is enforced in a transparent manner there. I also found that there are a small handful of Swedish people that criticize China every day and refuse to go to China to see whether the China in their words is the same country as it is. It cannot but make us wonder, whether these people are friendly towards China and the Chinese people, whether they want to promote friendship and deepen cooperation between China and Sweden. My colleagues at the Embassy and I as Ambassador are firmly committed to developing the traditional friendship between our two countries and two peoples and growing practical cooperation in all areas. It is hoped that the people who criticize China all day will also take such a good will when looking at the problems in our bilateral relations.

Q: Gui Minhai has few opportunities to tell his story, but his daughter is sure that he has been treated unfairly. Besides, stories also come from other people, such as a British citizen and another Swedish citizen who went on Swedish TV telling his story about being forced to confess on Chinese TV.

Gui Congyou: If Gui Minhai’s daughter says her father is not treated fairly, please provide the evidence on when, where and by whom Gui Minhai was unfairly treated? As for the other couple of people you mentioned, who initially publicly admitted their crimes through Chinese media and then claimed that they had been “forced” after returning to their home country. I have zero respect for such people, because they are not telling the truth. If it is true that he was forced to confess on TV, why would he give his consent in the first place? As a person of integrity, if someone tries to force me to do something, I will never give my consent. I hope these two people would have more honesty and integrity.

Q: One last question, what do you think of the current Sweden-China relations?

Gui Congyou: Overall, China-Sweden relations have maintained steady development, and the two sides have sound exchanges and cooperation in multiple areas. Last year trade between China and Sweden grew by 16%, reaching a new record of USD 17.15 billion. Sweden continues to keep a surplus with China. Government departments, various regions, universities and companies of our two countries have maintained regular cooperation. As for the problems in the bilateral ties, our position is that we need to see past differences for common ground, and we should not let them stand in the way of closer friendship and cooperation between us. Chinese people have deep friendship towards Swedish people, and the Chinese Government and people are willing to expand and deepen friendly cooperation with Sweden. We are firmly against the attempt by a small handful of Swedish people to hype up and amplify the differences and problems between China and Sweden and to create troubles for our friendly cooperation. We are willing to have candid discussions with these people, to enhance mutual understanding. It is hoped that they will engage and communicate with us, and join us and all others who are committed to promoting friendly cooperation between our two countries.

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