Beijing bangs at hotel door

China | REUTERS 18 Sep 2018

Chinese Foreign Ministry officials say they want Swedish authorities to take seriously their concern over the removal by police of three Chinese citizens from a hotel in Stockholm.

The incident sparked uproar on Chinese social media and a strong response from Beijing.

Police forcibly ejected a Chinese man named Zeng and his parents from a hotel in the early hours of September 2 after they arrived a day before their booking.

China has lodged representations with Sweden about the incident and has asked for an immediate response, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.

"We again urge Sweden to take China's concerns seriously and to take practical measures to protect the security and legitimate interests of Chinese tourists," he said.

Earlier, the overseas edition of the People's Daily, an organ of the Chinese Communist Party, accused Stockholm of hypocrisy, saying: "Some Western nations, including Sweden, always praise themselves for their human rights, freedom and equality. But when it comes to China's people and issues they seem to often show a different face, a different set of standards."

But a Swedish prosecutor, Mats Ericsson, told the Aftonbladet daily that no investigation was initiated because "we made the assessment that no crime on the part of the police had been committed."

And a Swedish government source said Sweden believed Beijing was exaggerating the incident because Stockholm spoke out on the case of a Swedish citizen detained in China.

"We think it's related to Gui Minhai," said the official referring to a Swedish, Hong Kong-based bookseller held by Chinese authorities since 2015 after he was abducted in Thailand.

"Sweden and the EU have repeatedly called for his release, and Chinese authorities don't like that."

A video clip of the tourists wailing and crying as they sit on the ground outside the hotel has in fact drawn mixed reactions from Chinese internet users.

Some said Swedish police appeared to have mistreated the tourists, but many others lambasted the trio, saying their behavior was unseemly and embarrassing.

"I really find these types of people too infuriating," said a poster on Weibo. "Could they please not make a spectacle of themselves and give the motherland some face?"

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