Sweden Joins France & Germany Against China

  • Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said that she would support the approach proposed by Germany and France.
  • The foreign ministers of EU member states held their first face-to-face meeting since the outbreak of the new coronavirus epidemic in Brussels on Monday.
  • At the same time, Sweden is fighting for China to release Swedish citizen Gui Minhai.

The Hong Kong version of the National Security Law continues to cause a backlash in Europe. Sweden said on Monday that it supports France and Germany’s strong response to China’s forced implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong. Sweden joined Denmark and the Netherlands.

The Hong Kong national security law is a decision adopted by the third session of the thirteenth National People’s Congress, to authorize the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) to promulgate a national security law in Hong Kong. The pan-democratic camp, human rights organisations and politicians abroad have criticised the decision as a threat to the “one country, two systems” principle, the rule of law and civil liberties.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, in a meeting with EU foreign ministers in Brussels, said that she would support the approach proposed by Germany and France, “because we must respond to the status quo in Hong Kong.” Germany and France, among the EU countries, have proposed a countermeasure against China.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday that he will push the EU to discuss the impact of the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law on the relationship between the EU, Hong Kong, and China as soon as possible. In addition, Denmark and the Netherlands are also pushing the EU to consider countermeasures against Beijing.

The foreign ministers of EU member states held their first face-to-face meeting since the outbreak of the new coronavirus epidemic in Brussels on Monday. In addition to Hong Kong, they discussed the relationship between the EU and Turkey.

Like most Western countries, the European Union condemns the decision of the National People’s Congress of China to adopt the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law. The proposed stage of this new law has already attracted fierce opposition and criticism from the international community.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned last month that if Beijing deprives Hong Kong of its guarantee of freedom, there will be “very negative consequences.” She said that these freedoms in Hong Kong cannot be enjoyed in mainland China.

Some analysts believe that Germany, as the rotating presidency of the EU, will play a key role in the EU’s actions against China. When the EU countries stated that they would counter China, Reuters said that the EU’s threat of retaliation was ambiguous, and EU officials were reluctant to talk about the details of the counter-China measures. EU diplomats said that these measures were not formal sanctions against China. China is the EU’s second-largest trading partner.

Sweden was the first Western country to establish official diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, on 9 May 1950. A survey published in 2019 by the Pew Research Center found that 70% of Swedes had an unfavorable view of China.

The Reuters report said that the EU’s alternatives include: the police as a tool that may be used to torture or suppress, such as barbed batons, rubber bullets, etc., will extend its export ban. In addition, EU countries can grant Hong Kong activists long-term refugee status and provide more opportunities for Hong Kong students to study in Europe.

At the same time, Sweden is fighting for China to release Swedish citizen Gui Minhai. Gui Minhai published books about Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s lover, and publications about other Chinese Communist leaders while operating a bookstore in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.

The Chinese authorities were very angry about this. In February this year, Gui Minhai was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Chinese Communist Party for illegally providing intelligence abroad. Gui Minhai was kidnapped by Chinese agents while traveling in Thailand in 2015.

He was released in 2017, and was taken away by a number of Chinese security personnel on his way to Beijing in January 2018. Swedish diplomats were present. The case of Gui Minhai caused tension between Switzerland and China.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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