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Ambassador Gui Congyou Gives Exclusive Interviews with TT and Expressen Respectively

On 3 July, during his visit to the Almedalen Week in Gotland, Ambassador Gui Congyou gave exclusive interviews to Anna Karolina Eriksson from TT News Agency and Filippa Rogvall from Expressen respectively. Following is the main context of the interviews:

TT & Expressen: Mr. Ambassador, why do you come to the Almedalen Week?

Gui Congyou: The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sweden is hosting a “China Day” event here. China-Sweden economic and trade relations have a long history and have yielded fruitful achievements. As China develops, the Chinese market will be ever more open. The industrial and business sectors in Sweden are eager to further expand their investment and cooperation in China. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sweden host the “China Day” event with the aim of providing those Swedish companies, which are planning to invest and do business in China, with a platform to conduct exchanges and cooperation, as well as an opportunity to learn about China and the cooperation opportunities with China. In a world where unilateralism and protectionism prevail, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sweden intends to tell Swedish friends that China is becoming more and more open, and that Swedish companies are welcome to engage in cooperation in China. I believe that you will not have a problem with this.

Expressen: The Almedalen Week is a political event. Do you only attend commercial activities, with no political purposes?

Gui Congyou: The Almedalen Week is open to everyone. I’ve been invited by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sweden to attend the “China Day” event. At the same time, just like other countries’ Ambassadors to Sweden, I’m here to learn about the society and politics of Sweden and to meet Swedish people from all walks of life to talk about friendship and cooperation.

TT: What is your comment on the present China-Sweden relations?

Gui Congyou: China and Sweden have traditional friendship, and their pragmatic cooperation in various fields go way back. Ericsson and other multinational companies from Sweden entered the Chinese market more than 100 years ago. As China continues to develop, the prospects for China-Sweden practical cooperation will only be broader. We are happy to see the atmosphere of good relations between our two countries continue. At the same time, we hope that some people in Sweden will treat China as an equal, instead of criticizing and blaming China condescendingly all the time and interfering in China’s internal affairs. The Chinese Government and nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people have been very friendly to Sweden and the Swedish people. We should develop friendship and cooperation, not create barriers or confrontation .

TT & Expressen: Is there anyone criticizing China for participating in the Almedalen Week ?

Gui Congyou: The Almedalen Week is open to all sides. Your question reminds me of a joke. Several people were sitting on the street talking about democracy. Then a passerby wanted to join the discussion, but was rejected. They said, “you shut up. We are talking about democracy.”

TT: Mr. Ambassador is also willing to talk about democracy?

Gui Congyou: Sure! Democracy and human rights are the common values pursued by all mankind, and certainly a goal of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese Government. Some people in Sweden always criticize China for lacking democracy and human rights. If you have the opportunity, you should go to China to see how the Chinese people live a life of dignity. The Chinese people enjoy a very high level of democracy and human rights. There is no such thing as the highest level of human rights protection; there is always room for improvement. The Chinese Government will continue to strive for better human rights protection, and to make unremitting efforts for Chinese people to enjoy a higher standard of living and comprehensive development. There are still nearly 20 million poor people in the central and western regions of China. CPC and the Chinese Government are determined to pull them all out of poverty within next year. If some Swedish people really care about the human rights situation in China, they should help China with its poverty alleviation effort.

Expressen: Does the criticism against China bother you? Like those regarding the human rights issue and the case of Gui Minhai.

Gui Congyou: I believe that you have seen today’s friendly and cooperative atmosphere at the “China Day” event. The people who often criticize China are the minority in Sweden. We keep an open mind to criticism from the outside world as long as it is fair and reasonable and is good for China’s development. However, we firmly reject unwarranted speculation, criticism, accusation, prejudice and stereotype. The cold war is long over. We should pursue dialogue, communication, exchanges and cooperation, instead of accusation and confrontation. I hope that those who criticize and accuse China behind colored spectacles and those who look at China with prejudice and stereotype will be able to wash off their Cold War mentality with the concept of win-win cooperation of the 21st century.

TT & Expressen: Could you introduce the case of Gui Minhai? Why was he arrested in China?

Gui Congyou: I’ve had extensive exchanges with Swedish friends from all walks of life and given interviews with the Swedish media many times, and have already made the truth about the Gui Minhai case very clear. Gui Minhai violated Chinese laws in China, and the Chinese authorities are handling the case in accordance with the law. This is an international practice. China pursues law-based governance in all fields, and everyone is equal before the law. There are a very small group of people in Sweden trying to pressure the Chinese Government to release Gui Minhai. I hope that those people who hype up the Gui Minhai case and criticize China could study law a little bit and acquire some legal concepts and the spirit of the rule of law, instead of being so ignorant about law. Without the rule of law, there is no democracy, and the society will fall into anarchy. Do you agree?

Expressen: Why do you criticize journalists who criticize China on the case of Gui Minhai?

Gui Congyou: As these journalists say, people have freedom of expression. That means we should enjoy freedom of expression too. It is really shocking to hear some people from the media say that diplomats in Sweden have no rights to comment on what the Swedish media report. If freedom of expression is emphasized, how come they can criticize us but we are not allowed to clarify the facts and refute? Which international law regulates that diplomats could not comment on the media reporting? It is not right for these people from the media to only grant freedom of expression to themselves while not allowing others to have it.

Expressen:Why does China put Uyghur people into “re-education camps” ?According to a UN report, there are 1 million people held in these camps. Why?

Gui Congyou: First of all, I would like to correct you that there is no so-called “re-education camps” in Xinjiang. The vocational education and training institutions in Xinjiang are established in accordance with the law, and the trainees are those who have committed minor terrorist offences or displayed extremist tendencies. They are vulnerable to terrorist and extreme thoughts because of their low education level and poor living condition. The vocational education and training institutions aim at helping them improve education level and vocational skills, so that they can find jobs and return to society. This is an effective measure to prevent terrorism and extremism. To combat terrorism, we must address both the symptoms and the root causes, and eliminate the soil of terrorism and extremism. In fact, major Western countries, including the United States and France, which are threatened by terrorism all adopt various measures to de-radicalize. Sweden is also a victim of terrorism. I have noticed that you do not allow terrorists and extremists who have been trained abroad to return to Sweden. There is also discussion about requiring those people in Sweden with terrorism tendencies to wear electronic trackers. Then why can’t China take measures to fight terrorism and eliminate extremism? Do you want to see China under attack by terrorists every day? The measures China take do not target any specific ethnic or religious group, only individuals with terrorist and extremist tendencies. Some people with hidden motives make rumors all day that there are “detention camps” in China. Have they been there to see? Even after being told 1000 times, a rumor won’t become true. Which institution of the UN published the so-called report you mentioned? Have they been there to investigate? Have they counted and found 1 million people there? Non-sense!

I recommend Swedish people interested in China to go and visit China and learn more about it before making comments. China has a history of more than 5,000 years, 56 ethnic groups, 5 national religions, and nearly 1.4 billion people. Its social and economic development is very fast. You can’t learn about the truth by only listening to others. You and your colleagues are welcome to visit China.

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