Shocking new page in HK bookseller case

World | ASSOCIATED PRESS 10 Dec 2019

A former Swedish envoy in Beijing has been indicted for unauthorized contacts with a foreign power aimed at freeing dissident Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai.

It involves a meeting in Stockholm between the daughter of Gui, China's ambassador to Stockholm and two businessmen.

The January meeting was arranged by former Swedish ambassador to Beijing Anna Lindstedt.

"The ambassador is suspected of having acted outside the bounds of [her] authority ... regarding Swedish citizen Gui Minhai, who is imprisoned in China,'' prosecutor Hans Ihrman said.

If found guilty, Lindstedt could face up to two years in jail. She has denied wrongdoing. No date for a trial has been set but prosecutors said it was expected to be held in early 2020.

Lindstedt allegedly told Angela Gui, daughter of naturalized Swede Gui Minhai, she should fly to Stockholm in January to explore a "new approach" to her father's case.

Gui said she met the businessmen and Lindstedt, during which the businessmen told her they could arrange a Chinese visa and job for her and that they had connections within the Communist Party.

The businessmen said her father could be released if she stopped talking about his case.

Gui Minhai co-owned a Hong Kong store that sold books about Chinese leaders.

He went missing in 2015 from Thailand and turned up later on Chinese television saying he had turned himself in for an alleged 2003 drunken driving accident in which a female college student was killed.

Ihrman said the charge against Lindstedt "is unprecedented in modern times.''

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