Sunday, September 30, 2018
VIDEO: Stockholm police eject a family of Chinese tourists from a hostel in the city centre. (ABC News)
The ejection of a family of Chinese tourists from a Stockholm hostel has sparked a diplomatic dispute between China and Sweden, after the tourists claimed they were man-handled by police officers and dumped at a cemetery in the early hours of the morning.
The allegations have seen China's embassy in Sweden issue a stern travel warning to all would-be visitors, which claimed police "brutally abused" and "violated the basic human rights of the Chinese citizens".
However Stockholm's chief prosecutor has told local media his office would not investigate the incident, as they assessed that police committed no crimes.
Video of the bizarre incident, which took place at the beginning of this month, was posted on Chinese social media last week by one of the tourists involved in the dispute.
Identified in Chinese state media only by his surname Zeng, he alleged in the online posts that he and his elderly parents had flown into Stockholm on the night of the incident.
He said they arrived at the Generator Stockholm hostel in the early hours of the morning, but were advised that their check-in was later that afternoon, according to Chinese state media tabloid the Global Times.
The paper said Mr Zeng asked staff if his parents could wait in some chairs in the lobby as his father was unwell, but staff "reacted rudely and told them to leave or they would call police".
When police arrived he reportedly also asked them if his parents could remain seated in the lobby.
Police can be seen in the video carrying a man by his arms and legs out of the hostel and placing him on the footpath outside.
In other parts of the video, the two female officers can be seen standing around the family as they sit on the footpath crying loudly, and as their son yells in English for them to be allowed into the hostel.
The state media outlet reported that officers later took the family away in a police car, where Mr Zeng alleged they "beat" his parents before dropping the family off at a graveyard around an hour later.
"Fortunately, someone who was passing by gave them a ride back to Stockholm after they stayed in the graveyard for half an hour."
PHOTO: The tourists were left with their luggage at a cemetery south of central Stockholm. (Twitter)
In a statement posted on its website on Friday, the Chinese embassy urged the Swedish Government to conduct a thorough and immediate investigation into the incident.
"The Chinese Embassy in Sweden is deeply appalled and angered by what happened and strongly condemns the behaviour of the Swedish police," it said.
An image provided to the Global Times by Mr Zeng indicated that the cemetery was the Skogskyrkogården, a UNESCO world heritage site south of central Stockholm.
PHOTO: Police often drop people off at the train station at Skogskyrkogarden cemetery, according to officials. (Twitter)
It is around eight kilometres away from the hostel, and in the middle of the night, the trip should take around 10 minutes by car.
Stockholm's chief prosecutor Mats Ericsson told Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper a report about the incident had been filed with his office, however they decided not to proceed with an investigation.
He said police in Stockholm often drove people who engage in disorderly behaviour outside of the city's centre.
Mr Ericsson said police had dropped the tourists off at a train station at the cemetery, which was "a very common place" for police to leave people.
In Beijing on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang doubled-down on the Government's criticism when asked about the incident at a regular press conference.
"The Chinese side has not received any feedback on how the investigation is proceeding from the Swedish side, and the Swedish police still has not responded to the Chinese Embassy's request for a face-to-face communication.
"This is inconsistent with diplomatic and internationally accepted practice."
Mr Geng was also asked whether the case of Gui Minhai — a Swedish citizen who has been detained by Chinese authorities since 2015 — had any influence on China's strong comments on the tourist issue, but did not answer the question directly.
"China's position on [Gui Minhai] remains clear and unchanged," he said.
Mr Gui is one of several Hong Kong-based booksellers who have gone missing in recent years after publishing books critical of Beijing.
He disappeared while on holiday in Thailand in 2015 and later reappeared in China, where the Chinese-born Swedish citizen made a televised confession to a historic hit-and-run incident.
His case has been a diplomatic flashpoint between Sweden in China, who otherwise enjoy good ties, with Sweden having been the first Western country to establish diplomatic relations with Communist-ruled China in 1950.
Earlier this year, Sweden again called on China to release Mr Gui after police removed him from a train to Beijing while he was in the company of Swedish diplomats, who were taking him to visit a medical specialist.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
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