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Ambassador Gui Congyou Refutes Lies of Swedish Media About the Case of Gui Minhai

On 12 November, Ambassador Gui Conyou gives an exclusive interview with Sveriges Radio (SR) at the Embassy, and sternly refutes a series of lies of Swedish media about the case of Gui Minhai.

Q: Svenska PEN will award Gui Minhai the 2019 Tucholsky Prize on Friday, which the Chinese Embassy criticizes. Why do you do that?

Ambassador Gui: The spokesperson of the Embassy has expressed the solemn positions of the Chinese side shortly after the award was announced. We resolutely oppose Svenska PEN awarding Gui Minhai the 2019 Tucholsky Prize. According to my knowledge, the Nobel Committees inform the laureates before presenting awards. Did Svenska PEN inform Gui Minhai? Did they ask about Gui Minhai’s opinion? Did Gui Minhai agree? Svenska PEN awards Gui Minhai on their own  self-righteousness and wishful thinking. For over two years, I have had in-depth exchanges of views with people concerned about the case of Gui Minhai from the Swedish side and introduced the facts about the case on lots of occasions. In the late 1990s, Gui Minhai committed fraud at the University of Gothenburg which led to the suicide of at least one Chinese students. With guilt, he fled back to his hometown in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China, and posed himself as an overseas Chinese businessman. During his stay in Ningbo, he killed a young college girl while drunk-driving with no license. To escape punishment, he once again fled out of mainland of China. Gui Minhai is a criminal who seriously violated laws in both China and Sweden. What is the intention behind awarding a person like him? To encourage crimes?

While Gui Minhai was outside mainland of China, he made up lies and viciously attacked the Chinese Government. In October 2015, Gui Minhai returned to mainland of China and turned himself in out of guilty. Two years later, he was released after serving his time for causing traffic casualties. But after that, he was again held under enforcement measures according to law on suspicion of illegally providing state secrets and intelligence of China overseas.

Q: The Swedish public don’t see it this way. They think Gui Minhai got arrested because he published books that criticize the Chinese Government.

Ambassador Gui: The books Gui Minhai published are full of lies and completely lacking in factual foundation. That’s why we call him “a lie-fabricator”. The “freedom of expression” advertised by the president of Svenska PEN hurts other people’s feelings and interests and does not allow other people to express different opinions. What kind of  “freedom of expression”is that? ! It is simply his individual “autocracy of expression”! It is “freedom of lies”!

Q: In Sweden, if someone criticizes the government, it will be celebrated as promoting freedom of expression.

Ambassador Gui: China welcomes criticism from the outside world, but criticism should be based on facts and out of goodwill. Gui Minhai spread lies and viciously attacked the Chinese Government. That’s totally different from criticism. Please have in mind that we advocate freedom of expression, and China’s Constitution and laws fully guarantees freedom of expression. But what we need is freedom of expression based on objective facts, not “freedom of lies”.

Q: Svenska PEN is most likely to give the award to Gui Minhai, and the Swedish Minister for Culture will attend the awarding ceremony. What is your comment on the Swedish Government supporting awarding Gui Minhai?

Ambassador Gui: China resolutely oppose Svenska PEN awarding a criminal and lie-fabricator. It will be the same as promoting “freedom of lies”, and we firmly oppose that. We oppose even more resolutely any Swedish government officials attending the awarding ceremony. It will bring serious negative impacts on our bilateral friendly cooperation and normal exchanges. We will surely take countermeasures.  

Q: Could you please specify what countermeasures the Chinese side will take? People will be very interested.

Ambassador Gui: We urge Svenska PEN to cancel the award to Gui Minhai immediately, and the Swedish government officials not to attend the awarding ceremony. If they ignore the strong oppositions from the Chinese side and go ahead anyway, we will have to take measures. Some people in Sweden shouldn’t expect to feel at ease after hurting the feelings of the Chinese people and the interests of the Chinese side.

Q: I think the awarding will happen. Could you please specify the countermeasures from the Chinese side?  

Ambassador Gui: You will see. We ask Svenska PEN to show some basic respect for China and the 1.4 billion Chinese people and stop the wrong actions before it’s too late. Let’s wait and see.

Q: Do you mind if actions of the Chinese side will harm China’s image in Sweden?

Ambassador Gui: The international community has its own fair judgment as regards China’s image. What worries us is that if Svenska PEN insists on awarding Gui Minhai, Sweden’s image in the 1.4 billion Chinese people will be severely damaged.

Q: For a long time, Sweden has a proud tradition of protecting writers and publishers who are persecuted. Do you worry that China-Sweden relations will encounter problems because of this?

Ambassador Gui: The Chinese side respects that Sweden protects the legitimate rights and interests of relevant people, but Gui Mihai is not a so-called persecuted writer or publisher. He is a criminal who has committed serious offences in both China and Sweden, and a lie-fabricator who viciously attacked the Chinese Government. Please distinguish these two categories.

Q: If Gui Minhai is a criminal, then when will he receive a fair trial and justice?

Ambassador Gui: Since Gui Minhai was held under enforcement measures according to law on suspicion of illegally providing state secrets and intelligence of China overseas in January 2018, the Chinese Public Security authorities, equivalent to the Swedish Police Authority, have been dealing with his case in accordance with the law and procedures. China is a country of rule of law. The competent authorities will certainly conduct investigations, have trials and give sentences according to law. I would also like to emphasize that the legitimate rights and interests of Gui Minhai are fully guaranteed according to law, and he is in good physical and mental condition. Some people in Sweden claim that Gui Minhai is “abused and tortured”. That’s totally untrue. In August 2018, China agreed to the Swedish side’s request to send a doctor to China to see Gui Minhai and provide medical services to him. The Swedish doctor knows the real conditions of Gui Minhai, but why hasn’t he said anything after getting back to Sweden? Why not tell the truth?

Q: According to my information, Gui Minhai was taken by the Chinese side on a train on his way to see a doctor in Beijing.

Ambassador Gui: This is the first time I’ve ever heard the claim that Gui Minhai took a train to Beijing to see a doctor. Nobody, including Gui Minhai himself and the Swedish people with him at that time, ever said that he went to Beijing to see a doctor. The Swedish media said that when the Chinese police took enforcement measures against Gui Minhai, two consular officers from the Consulate-General of Sweden in Shanghai were present. According to Chinese laws, they should give explanations to the Chinese police. But up till today, no one from the Swedish side has made explanations to the Chinese police. Is that another lie? The Swedish media is full of lies about the case of Gui Minhai. The Swedish doctor who visited Gui Minhai in August last year knows the truth. But in this public opinion environment where lies are everywhere and truth is withheld because of fear, the Swedish doctor chooses to keep silent.

Q: If it is really like what you said, why can’t we meet him? Why is he not allowed to tell the truth to the Swedish public through Swedish media?

Ambassador Gui: You should not make wild speculations if you do not know what really happened. Last year, I met with colleagues from the Swedish Foreign Ministry for over 40 times on the Gui Minhai case. I informed the Swedish side of the truth of the case. There is no such thing as not allowing the Swedish side to make consular visits to Gui Minhai. We conveyed every request of the Swedish side accurately to Gui Minhai, but he does not want to meet anyone from the Swedish side.

Q: I read it from some media reports. It is not from me. So you deny that Gui Minhai was on the train to see a doctor in Beijing?

Ambassador Gui: I need to stress that some people from the Swedish side with hidden agenda fabricated a lot of lies on this case. Neither Gui Minhai nor the Swedish people travelling with him said anything about going to see a doctor in Beijing. As a matter of fact, the Chinese side arranged a panel of the best doctors from Ruijin Hospital, the best hospital in Shanghai, to diagnose and treat Gui Minhai, and the result is that he never had the severe disease claimed by Swedish media. This is yet another lie of some people in Sweden. Two years ago, some people told me that Gui Minhai’s days are numbered because he suffers from an incurable disease. But the fact is, he is now very well, both mentally and physically.

Q: Lie-fabricators are the last thing we Swedish journalists want to be, we all want to be “truth spreaders”. I have a proposal, is it possible for you to help me visit Gui Minhai. Let me talk with him directly so that I can tell the truth to Swedish public.

Ambassador Gui: I am not saying that all Swedish media outlets are lie-fabricators, but the claims by some Swedish media, cultural figures and politicians are lies. There are many Swedish journalists that have a strong sense of responsibility and professionalism, whom I also conversed with. I am sure you are not a lie-fabricator. Whenever the Swedish Foreign Ministry raises a request of consular or another doctor visit, we immediately inform Gui Minhai himself, but every time he replies he does not want to meet anyone from the Swedish side.

Q: I find it very hard to believe.

Ambassador Gui: If you do not believe Gui Minhai or me, who do you believe? Only yourself? The fact that Svenska PEN insists on issuing the award to Gui Minhai shows that they are too obsessed with what they believe. They do not believe anyone or any truth. They only believe in the lies they made for themselves. It is really pathetic.

Q: I do not want to be makers or spreaders of lies. Could you help me meet Gui Minhai?

Ambassador Gui: We will convey your idea to Gui Minhai, but I believe he will definitely decline.

Q: Can I call him?

Ambassador Gui: In February 2018, at the request of Gui Minhai himself, the Chinese authorities handling the case agreed to arrange an interview with media for Gui Minhai to speak about the truth of the case, where he explained all his positions clearly. He does not want to meet anyone from the Swedish side, because he feels he has been manipulated by a force in Sweden, and he realized he is a victim of this force. We once again urge these people not to politically manipulate the Gui Minhai case. You are harming Gui Minhai, but we are trying to save him. Gui Minhai will live his life well.

Q: Can I trust you?

Ambassador Gui: Am I not worthy of your trust?

Q: Of course I respect and trust you, otherwise I will not be doing this interview. Can you help me call Gui Minhai?

Ambassador Gui: Respect and trust help increase mutual understanding. Regarding the phone call, we will convey the request to Gui Minhai, but he has explicitly said he does not want to be involved with anyone in Sweden. If you care about the Gui Minhai case, you may look for the Swedish doctor that visited Gui Minhai in Shanghai last August, and ask him whether Gui Minhai was tortured or mistreated like described by Swedish media.

Q: How soon can we see the consequences of the award by Svenska PEN to Gui Minhai?

Ambassador Gui: As an old Chinese saying goes, “Good deeds are rewarded with good results, and wrong deeds are punished by bad consequences”. Some people in Sweden insisted on lying and doing wrong deeds on this case, and they are already suffering from the consequences.

Q: Can you be more specific about the consequences? People are worried to hear such words as “consequences”.

Ambassador Gui: First the image of Sweden among the 1.4 billion Chinese people will be damaged. Second, normal exchanges and cooperation will be seriously hindered. You are smart enough to know what I mean by “consequences”.

We welcome such dialogue with Swedish media at our Embassy. More engagement, exchanges and communication will help dispel misunderstanding and break barriers. To those handful of people that only focus on criticizing and accusing China, I suggest they should go to China and see the real situation there before making comments. Many Swedish people went to China only to discover the real situation there is nothing like what they read on Swedish media. Some people refuse to interact with China. They have never been to China but criticize China all the time. We can only conclude that they are unfriendly and hostile against China. We hope they will abandon the mindset of confrontation and cold-war mentality as soon as possible.

Q: If I write a letter to Gui Minhai, can you promise it will be sent to him? Where is he exactly? Can I go interview him?

Ambassador Gui: He is where he should be.

Q: I have been to many places in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Harbin. I would love to visit China again. I want to get more information about Gui Minhai, but I don’t want to get in any risks because of doing that.

Ambassador Gui: We welcome you to China again. As for whether you will meet Gui Minhai, it is totally up to himself.

Q: I will write to him, and I hope he will reply to me.

Ambassador Gui: We will forward the letter to him, but no one can force Gui Minhai.

Q: Can you give me the number of Gui Minhai? I can call him from the studio. It will only take five minutes. I want to ask him about his views on the award.

Ambassador Gui: He himself said he does not want to meet anyone from the Swedish side anymore.

Q: Gui Minhai is a fellow Swedish. I want to speak to him on behalf of the Swedish people and hear from him directly, instead of the government that is detaining him.

Ambassador Gui: Your question is still based on a distrust in us. Gui Minhai said he does not want to meet anyone from the Swedish side. It is not said by the Chinese Government, instead it is said by Gui Minhai himself.

SR journalist said, I’d like to thank the Ambassador for the interview. Before coming, I planned a short interview for about 10 minutes. But feeling the openness and candidness of you, I asked more questions. The proposal to call Gui Minhai is something I thought of during our conversation. It is not from SR. I did not want to appear aggressive during the interview. Thank you again Mr. Ambassador.

Ambassador Gui said, I hope you will be a spreader of truth. We can talk at any time.

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