Feb 26, 2020 - World

China slaps 10-year sentence on kidnapped Swedish citizen

A protester holds up a photo of Gui Minhai

Signs showing missing bookseller Lee Bo (L) and his associate Gui Minhai (R). Photo: Phillippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

After a five-year saga that provoked an international outcry, a Chinese court has sentenced Swedish citizen Gui Minhai to 10 years in prison for "providing intelligence overseas."

Background: In 2015, Chinese authorities secretly kidnapped Gui, a Hong Kong-based Swedish citizen known for writing and selling books critical of China’s leaders, from his apartment in Thailand and brought him to mainland China.

  • This “extraordinary rendition” — a cross-border kidnapping that Chinese officials have perpetrated upon occasion — sparked fears in Hong Kong and led to the severe deterioration of Sweden-China relations.

Of note: Particularly alarming is the court's claim that Gui had reapplied to become a Chinese citizen in 2018, several years into his forced disappearance.

My thought bubble: Given the circumstances, it seems highly likely that Gui was forced to reapply for Chinese citizenship. If so, that marks an alarming escalation of China’s unofficial policy of “extraterritoriality,” imposing its view that former Chinese nationals still belong to the motherland.

Go deeper: China expels 3 Wall Street Journal reporters

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