China complains to Sweden over tourists’ treatment
BEIJING (AP): China on Monday urged Sweden to respond to its complaints about the alleged mistreatment of a Chinese family removed by police from a hotel in Stockholm. The foreign ministry and China’s embassy in Stockholm have asked Sweden to investigate the case but have yet to hear back, ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters.
“We once again urge Sweden to take seriously our concerns and take concrete measures to ensure the safety and legal rights and interests of Chinese tourists,” Geng said, adding that the family had been “brutally abused by Swedish police.” Reports said an elderly couple and their son were removed from the hotel on Sept. 2 after they arrived a day before their booking and refused the staff’s requests to leave. Police were called and removed the group, at one point carrying the father out of the door by his arms and legs.
A statement on the Chinese Embassy’s website posted Saturday said its citizens were asking for “punishment, apology and compensation in time.” “The Chinese Embassy in Sweden is deeply appalled and angered by what happened and strongly condemns the behavior of the Swedish police,” the statement said. The Swedish Embassy in Beijing posted on its microblog Sunday that it had been made aware of the accusations against the police and an independent investigation into the incident would be conducted to determine whether there had been “negligence or illegal behavior.”
In Stockholm, however, Chief Prosecutor Mats Ericsson said an investigation was closed on Sept. 7 after concluding that police had done nothing wrong. “This is very normal (when you have) disorderly behavior,” he was quoted as saying by the Aftonbladet newspaper, one of Sweden’s largest. “Police have the right to remove a person from one place to another,” he said. Citing a police report, the tabloid said two people were lying on a sofa in the hotel lobby and refused to leave the premises at about 1:45 a.m. About 25 minutes later, a police patrol decided to remove them and the two people started screaming, reportedly about “human rights.”
The incident comes amid low-level tensions between Stockholm and Beijing over China’s detention of a Chinese-born Swedish national on suspicion of leaking state secrets. China has rebuked Sweden for demanding the release of Hong Kong-based bookseller Gui Minhai, 53, who was taken off a train by police in eastern China on Jan. 20 while in the company of two Swedish diplomats with whom he was traveling to Beijing.