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China releases Swedish rights activist Peter Dahlin – BBC News

A Swedish activist who was detained in China on charges of damaging national security has been released and deported.

Peter Dahlin, 35, has been held since early January amid a crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists.

Last week he appeared on state media apparently confessing to breaking the law through his organisation’s support of local Chinese rights lawyers.

The Swedish embassy confirmed he had left China but gave no further details.

Its foreign minister welcomed Mr Dahlin’s release, but expressed concern about another Swede in Chinese detention.

‘Absurd’ confession

Mr Dahlin is the founder of Chinese Urgent Action Working Group (China Action), which describes itself as a legal aid organisation.

It provides assistance to uncertified lawyers who provide legal aid in rural areas, and provides direct help to disadvantaged groups and individuals who have experienced rights violations.


The group had said Mr Dahlin was detained on 4 January while en route to the airport.

Last week, in a report on state television, Mr Dahlin appeared to confess to aiding the Beijing law firm Fengrui – a number of the firm’s lawyers have recently been detained on charges of subversion.

Mr Dahlin said he had violated Chinese law, caused harm to the Chinese government and hurt the Chinese public.

China Action called the report “absurd” and said the confession appeared to be forced.

Hong Kong anger

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said she remained “greatly concerned” about the status of detained Swedish National Gui Minhai.

Mr Gui is one of five people linked to a Hong Kong publishing house to disappear in recent months. He vanished while on holiday from Hong Kong in Thailand in October last year.

He had also appeared on Chinese TV earlier this month, saying he had voluntarily handed himself over to the authorities over a drink-driving fatality years ago.

The case has sparked protests in Hong Kong from those who believe they were kidnapped by China and are being held because of allegations in a book they were working on, critical of the mainland.

Ms Wallstrom said Sweden’s “efforts to get a clear picture of his situation and the possibility to visit him continue with undiminished force”.(BBC News)



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