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Ambassador Gui Congyou Gives Exclusive Interview with SVD on Xinjiang and the Gui Minhai Case
2018/11/22

On 16 November 2018, during an interview with SVD journalist Mikael Törnwall on China-Sweden economic and trade relations, Ambassador Gui Congyou answered questions on Xinjiang and the Gui Minhai case.

Mikael Törnwall asked if he could extend his questions from bilateral investment between China and Sweden to the controversies between the two governments. There are two issues. First is the issue of Chinese Uygurs. Some people in Sweden claim that China uses Uygurs in Sweden as spies. Second is the case of Gui Minhai.

Following is the main points of Ambassador’s comments.

Ambassador Gui said, the interview was originally proposed to be about China-Sweden economic and trade cooperation, but I’m also open to questions beyond this subject. I would take this more as a discussion between friends. The so-called “Chinese Uygur issue” is something deliberately crafted by some people who either lack knowledge of the true situation or look at China through colored spectacles and with prejudice and stereotype. There is a folk song popular among nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people, “the 56 ethnic groups in China are like 56 flowers in a garden, and the 56 brothers and sisters are a big family.” The Uygurs are an equal member of the big Chinese family of 56 ethnic groups. The system of regional ethnic autonomy is implemented in Xinjiang, and the languages and cultures of all ethnic groups living there have been well inherited and developed. Xinjiang, once a backward region, now enjoys rapid economic and social development, thanks to the help of the Central Government and sister provinces. In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the border between China and Central Asia was opened up, and the three forces of terrorism, extremism and separatism from abroad madly infiltrated into Xinjiang. These forces recruited innocent young people there, trained them overseas, and then brought them back. Over these years, thousands of violent terrorist attacks, targeted at civilians, have been carried out. The most active of them is the “East Turkistan” terrorist organizations. These forces have also infiltrated into other provinces of China and carried out deadly terrorist attacks. For example, in 2014, “East Turkistan” terrorists stabbed and slashed at innocent people at random in the Kunming Railway Station of Yunnan Province, killing dozens of civilians. The perpetrators had all received terrorist training abroad. Graphics of their violent killing have been made public by the police.

While resolutely countering violent terrorist crimes, China also draws on the experience of other countries and puts an emphasis on preventive measures. Poverty and ignorance are the root causes of extremism and terrorism. The preventive measures Xinjiang takes are to bring around people who are influenced by terrorism and extremism and have committed minor offenses when involved in terrorist and extremist activities, and provide them with free vocational training, aiming to help them get rid of terrorist and extremist tendencies, master vocational skills, secure employment and stable incomes, and reintegrate into the society. Relevant measures are warmly welcomed by people of all ethnic groups across Xinjiang and trainees from vocational training institutions. Thanks to these measures, there have been no violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang for 22 consecutive months.

Now Xinjiang is generally stable. Its economy is enjoying a good development momentum. The various ethnic groups live in harmony, and people’s livelihood is steadily improving. A few years ago when violent terrorist attacks occurred frequently in Xinjiang, no domestic or foreign tourists dared to travel there. With a stable social environment, Xinjiang registered more than 100 million trips by domestic and foreign tourists in 2017, and this record was broken by September this year. Obviously, descriptions of Xinjiang by some people and media in the West are completely incompatible with the real Xinjiang. Some people hype up the so-called “Uygur issue” only out of bad political motives. You are welcome to travel to Xinjiang, to see the actual situation for yourself and enjoy the beautiful scenery there.

On the case of Gui Minhai, I have made extensive exchanges with the Swedish Government, Parliament, media and ordinary people. Some forces, media and people in Sweden exploit this case simply for political reasons. They never talk about what a person Gui Minhai is and what he did. I would like to tell you the truth.

In the 1990s, Gui Minhai came to Sweden to study and got Swedish citizenship. Unlike most other Chinese students studying in Sweden, he was obsessed with making big money. He illegally established a school at the University of Gothenburg and enrolled more than 100 students from China by deception. He promised these students MBA degrees and good living conditions, and tricked each of them to pay him a large sum of money. But the fact is there isn’t any MBA degree in Swedish universities even till today. He put over 20 students in one big room with very poor living conditions. His fraudulent activities cast these students into predicament and eventually led to two of them killing themselves, which shocked the Swedish society. The Swedish education authorities intervened and the University of Gothenburg managed to calm the waters. Relevant documents are still there. SVT broadcast a news report on this on 23 June 1999 and there are also reporting on local media of Gothenburg, which you can refer to if you are interested. Faced with punishment of Swedish law, Gui Minhai fled back to his hometown Ningbo, Zhejiang, China.

In Ningbo, he appeared as an “overseas Chinese merchant”, and the angry victims of his fraud reported to the Chinese police, the record of which is readily available for reference. One late night in December 2003, Gui Minhai killed a young college girl while drunk driving in Ningbo and escaped from the scene. The Chinese court handled the case according to law and sentenced Gui Minhai to two years in prison with a two-year reprieve for the crime of causing traffic casualties. To escape from punishment of the law, Gui Minhai used a fake identity to get a passport and fled out of China while still on probation. He was then engaged in illegal activities by smuggling books into China’s mainland and obtained a lot of ill-gotten gains through such criminal acts. In 2015, Gui Minhai returned to China and turned himself in, and the Chinese judicial authorities executed the former sentence of two-year imprisonment according to law. In October 2017, Gui Minhai was released in accordance with law after completing his two-year term for the crime of causing traffic casualties. He chose to stay in Ningbo to keep his old mother company. But during that period he got involved in criminal acts, again, when he illegally collected China’s state secrets and attempted to flee abroad, under the instigation of some forces and people in Sweden. The Chinese police had to take coercive measures against him in accordance with law.

At present, the Chinese judicial authorities are handling this case in accordance with law and legal procedures of China, and Gui Minhai himself has repented. At the same time, the Chinese side fully safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of Gui Minhai, including the right to medical treatment. Some Swedish media claimed that Gui Minhai was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and dying, which is not at all consistent with the facts. At the beginning of this year, the Chinese side arranged medical checkups for Gui Minhai carried out by experts from top hospitals in Shanghai. The diagnosis showed that Gui Minhai only had common cervical spondylosis. But some people in Sweden did not believe it, and proposed to send a Swedish doctor for Gui Minhai. The Chinese side agreed, and a Swedish doctor went to see Gui Minhai in mid-August and agreed with the diagnosis of Chinese doctors. Gui Minhai is in good physical and mental condition.

For such a person who has committed numerous crimes, some Swedish forces, media and people just ignore the facts and keep pressuring China and unreasonably demanding his release. It is a severe interference in China's judicial sovereignty, serious violation of the spirit of the rule of law, and a display of their ignorance of law. China and Sweden have maintained close communication on the Gui Minhai case. The Chinese side has made clear to the Swedish side the facts of the Gui Minhai case and China’s positions, that is, to deal with the case according to law and legal procedures of China. This is all the truth of the Gui Minhai case.

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