• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Swedish activist held in China returns home
Peter Dahlin on Chinese TV last week. Image: CCTV/AP/TT

Swedish activist held in China returns home

TT/AFP/The Local · 26 Jan 2016, 14:27

Published: 26 Jan 2016 08:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Jan 2016 14:27 GMT+01:00

"I'm back in Sweden now. I arrived this morning, after various delays but I'm in my hometown now with my parents," said Peter Dahlin of the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group.

"I'm happy to be back but three of my colleagues and close friends are still being held," he told Swedish radio.

Dahlin, who suffers from Addison's disease, said China had released him on Monday for "medical and diplomatic reasons". 

The campaigner was detained earlier this month by China for allegedly posing a threat to national security. But on Tuesday Chinese officials announced the Swede had been made to leave the country.

"We have deported him," Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, told a regular press briefing.

Michael Caster, a US-based spokesman for Dahlin's group, said on Twitter that the Swede had been "expelled from China".

His Chinese girlfriend, who had also been held "is no longer in detention but, contrary to some assertions, has not left the country", he added.

"I welcome the fact that Peter Dahlin can now be reunited with his family in Sweden. This is the result of close contacts between the Swedish foreign ministry and Chinese representatives," Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said in a statement following his release.

Dahlin, who worked for the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, disappeared on January 4th as he prepared to board a flight to Thailand, and appears to have been caught up in a crackdown on human rights lawyers.

His detention came as China considers a new law to control the activities of foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which has raised widespread concern among overseas groups. Dahlin's group has said it offered training to lawyers who have tried to use China's tightly-controlled judiciary to redress apparent government abuses.

State broadcaster CCTV last week aired footage of a dazed and harried looking Dahlin apologising to China for his alleged actions.

Another Swedish national, China-born Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai, disappeared from Thailand late last year before reappearing on Chinese national television in police custody.

He confessed to a mainland drink-driving offence dating back years and said he did not want Stockholm to interfere with his case.

Gui was rumoured to be preparing a tell-all book about the love life of President Xi Jinping.

Wallström said she remained "greatly concerned" about Gui.

Story continues below…

"Our efforts to get a clear picture of his situation and the possibility to visit him continue with undiminished force," she said.

Beijing only rarely accuses foreigners of endangering state security, a crime which can involve a heavy sentence.

While forced public confessions are an old practice in Communist China, there has been a resurgence of such incidents since President Xi took power in 2012.

The European Union's ambassador to China, Hans-Dietmar Schweisgut, had called Dahlin's arrest and televised confession "part of a worrying trend and call into question China's respect for the rule of law and for its international human rights obligations."

Journalism advocacy group Reporters Without Borders last week urged the European Union to impose sanctions on Chinese state media over the "forced confessions".

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Furious elk mum attacks Swede, breaks his arm
You talkin' to me? Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

It came back and attacked him not once, but twice.

Report: Stockholm is at risk of a housing bubble
Apartments in Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Stockholmers are the third most likely to experience a housing bubble in their city, according to an international ranking.

The Local List
Reverse culture shock: the troubles of leaving Sweden
Does it get more Swedish than this? Photo: Emelie Asplund/imagebank.sweden.se

Why is that stranger talking to me in the elevator?!

Police close Facebook thread after call for help derails
A file photo of police cars on Gotland not related to the article. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Gotland Police Facebook post asking the public for information about an unprovoked attack on two boys had to be closed because the comments section spiraled out of control.

US election
What Americans in Sweden think of Trump and Clinton
The Local spoke to Americans in Sweden after the first US presidential debate. Photo: David Goldman/AP/TT

The Local spoke to four US voters based in Sweden about who they are planning on voting for in the November election, and it looks like it's complicated.

Presented by Emirates Center for Strategic Studies
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
File photo: sanjitbakshi/Flickr

As Sweden prepares to take a seat on UN Security Council next year, Abu Dhabi-based scholar and author Dr. Jamal Sanad al-Suwaidi argues for a greater UN role to fight extremist ideologies like those that fuel Isis and other terror groups.

Video
Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Should a condom be sent into space? It's the burning question some Swedes have posed. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Craig Rubadoux/AP

'We can't be sure what alien sex organs look like.'

Mum gives birth on toilet after being told to take paracetamol
File photo of a baby not related to the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A woman has described how she was told to take a painkiller when she phoned a hospital in Ystad, southern Sweden, in pain. Just moments later she gave birth to a baby in the toilet.

Indians in Sweden told to be wary of travel document scam
File photo of a man using a phone not related to the story. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Embassy of India in Stockholm has urged Indian citizens in Sweden to be wary of scammers who ask for money to fix fabricated errors in travel documents.

Swedes shell out for season's first lobster
Meet Pontus Johansson and his lobster. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Best not to look at the price tag.

Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »

 

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
Gallery
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,961
jobs available