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Publisher detained in China 'confesses', blames Sweden

AFP  |  Shanghai 

Detained Minhai has surfaced nearly three weeks after disappearing into police custody in China, confessing wrongdoing and accusing his adopted country of manipulating him like a " piece". It was unclear whether the Chinese-born Gui's statement was made under duress, but video of his confession shows him flanked by two police officers and a close friend said the remarks were "not to be believed." The Chinese-born Gui, 53, was arrested on a train to last month while travelling with two Swedish diplomats -- the second time he has vanished into Chinese custody in murky circumstances. Sweden, the and the have called for Gui's release, with Swedish Margot Wallstrom on Monday calling his seizure "brutal". But accused of "sensationalising" his case. "I have stated that I do not want to continue to sensationalise what has happened to me. But obviously, has not stopped doing so," he said in the video. "I felt that it was necessary for me to come out and say something." The video emerged from an "interview" set up yesterday with handpicked Chinese media, according to their reports. was travelling by train to from the eastern city of Ningbo, where doctors had said he may have the neurological disease ALS. He was to see a Swedish in the capital but was arrested aboard the train. said yesterday that Swedish officials had pressured him to leave despite being barred from doing so due to pending legal cases. "I have declined a few times. But because they were instigating me non-stop, I fell for it," said "Looking back, I might have become Sweden's piece.

I broke the law again under their instigation. My wonderful life has been ruined and I would never trust the Swedish ever again." was one of five Hong Kong-based booksellers known for publishing gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders who disappeared in 2015 and resurfaced in mainland was on holiday in at the time. He eventually re-emerged at an undisclosed Chinese location, confessing to involvement in a fatal traffic accident and smuggling illegal books into mainland has given scant details on his arrest but acknowledged on Tuesday that was in custody under criminal law, without offering further specifics. Chinese criminal suspects often appear in videotaped "confessions" that rights groups say sometimes bear the hallmarks of official arm-twisting. Gui's family members could not immediately be reached for comment. But dissident Bei Ling, a friend of Gui's, said there was "no doubt" that the publisher wanted to seek medical treatment overseas. "I'm very shocked and very sad. It's difficult to listen to him say these things," Bei told AFP. "I believe his statements, made under circumstances without freedom... (are) not to be believed." "How can we believe whether the words of someone who is oppressed -- like a prisoner -- are real?" he said, adding that looked "unwell". Gui's relatives have previously expressed fears that he will receive a lengthy prison sentence, jeopardising his health. But yesterday, said no doctors had diagnosed him with ALS, adding, "I think has exaggerated this and manipulated (me)." "I have seen through the If they continue to create troubles, I may consider giving up my Swedish citizenship," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, February 10 2018. 15:55 IST
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