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Ambassador Gui Congyou Gives Exclusive Interview with TT on Discriminatory Actions and Words against Chinese People in Sweden

On 7 February, Ambassador Gui Congyou gave an exclusive interview with TT at the Embassy on recent discriminatory actions and words against Chinese people in Sweden.

Q: Recently we talked with a Chinese mother in Sweden. Her child was bullied and harassed for being Chinese, and was accused of “having corona virus”. How do you see this?

Ambassador Gui: Recently we received some reports by local Chinese people that they encountered unfair treatment and discrimination in Sweden. Some Chinese children said some of their school mates and even teachers said people should avoid touching Chinese kids. A Chinese mother and her daughter were verbally abused on subway in Stockholm. The abusers said all Chinese are virus, and the mother and daughter were almost physically assaulted. Some people also viciously attack Chinese restaurants online, saying one will catch corona virus when visiting a Chinese restaurant, which seriously affects the business of the restaurants. On the internet, some people call the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP) China virus or Wuhan virus, demonizing China and Chinese people. It has caused strong backlash in the local Chinese community. What happened is regrettable, saddening and outrageous, and we must be alerted about it.

Now the whole country of China is doing its best to combat NCP. The WHO acknowledged China’s work, and said China’s efforts to address NCP set a new standard for other countries. It is in a spirit to be responsible for people all over the world that the Chinese side worked to protect health security of the whole world at the expense of itself. The international community needs to join hands with China in this battle, as virus is a common enemy of the entire humanity. We noticed the recent comments by Director-General of the Swedish Public Health Agency Mr. Johan Carlson, and commend his objective and calm comments in keeping with WHO recommendations and his positive remarks about the most strict measures taken by the Chinese Government to combat NCP. Any actions or words that maliciously associate the virus with a specific country or nationality is racial discrimination. It is immoral and against human rights. Some countries have already started to work to prevent such discrimination. We hope the Swedish Government will also take effective measures to prevent the spread of messages of racial discrimination, prevent incidents of racial discrimination in Sweden, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of local Chinese people. We hope TT will communicate this message to all sectors of Sweden.

Q: The situation you mentioned is indeed very serious. Do you think it is racial discrimination against the Chinese?

Ambassador Gui: As I said just now, words and actions of a handful of people in Sweden is discrimination against the Chinese people, which will create panic in Swedish society and a gap between the two countries and our peoples. I noted the recent statement by the Italian President, denouncing any prejudice and hostility arsing from NCP. Sweden is an open and civilized society. We hope that the very few people in Sweden will correct their wrong words and actions, and conduct friendly communication with people from all around the world, including China, in a spirit of openness, inclusiveness and respect.

Q:How do you think the Swedish society should respond to the current situation?

Ambassador Gui: I call upon all Swedish people to strongly oppose and fight against the wrong words and actions of discrimination. Racial discrimination is against the law. I call on the people of Sweden to show their opposition to all types of unlawful acts, including racial discrimination. The Swedish News Agency’s interview request on this issue shows you take seriously and oppose this issue, which I appreciate.

For a long time, overseas Chinese in Sweden have actively integrated themselves into Swedish society, making positive contributions to promoting Sweden’s economic and social development, social solidarity, and friendly exchanges between China and Sweden. They deserve respect by Swedish people and their legitimate rights and interests should be protected.

Q: We noticed that such kind of things also happened in schools. What do you think the teachers should do?

Ambassador Gui: Teachers and parents should be open, objective and calm, and provide guidance to the students to reject racial discrimination and resolutely resist discriminatory words and deeds. This is the responsibility that teachers and parents should shoulder.

Q: Some flights between Sweden and China were suspended due to the epidemic, and the number of tourists between the two countries also declined. Under the current situation, should the Chinese tourists continue to be allowed to come to Sweden? Is it OK for the Swedish tourists to travel to China? Whats your view?

Ambassador Gui: Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros repeatedly stressed that WHO doesn’t recommend and actually opposes any restrictions for travel and trade against China. We hope that relevant Swedish institutions and companies will follow WHO's recommendations.

China is the world’s largest developing country with a huge market of 1.4 billion people and profound potential. Over the years, China’s economy has contributed more than 30% to the world economic growth, making it the main engine of world economy. The impact of the outbreak of NCP proves once again that when China is good, so is the world, and that harming China’s interests will lead to self-damaging. Countries sharing close economic ties with China, like Sweden, may suffer more. Only when all countries around the world unite and work together to fight the NCP can we achieve win-win outcomes.

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