China frees Swedish bookseller abducted in Thailand

China frees Swedish bookseller abducted in Thailand

Members of the pro-democracy Civic Party carry a portrait of Gui Minhai (left) and Lee Bo during a protest outside the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong, China, Jan 19, 2016. (Reuters file photo)
Members of the pro-democracy Civic Party carry a portrait of Gui Minhai (left) and Lee Bo during a protest outside the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong, China, Jan 19, 2016. (Reuters file photo)

STOCKHOLM: China has informed Sweden that it has freed a bookseller detained for publishing books on the personal lives of President Xi Jinping and other Communist Party leaders, the Swedish foreign office said on Tuesday.

Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swede, was abducted in Thailand while on holiday in 2015. He was among five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing in 2015 and later appeared in mainland Chinese custody. The four others have returned to Hong Kong. "We have been told by Chinese authorities that Gui Minhai has been released in China," foreign office spokeswoman Sofia Karlberg said, offering no further details.

However, Mr Gui's family questioned if he really was free. His daughter said in a statement that he was to be released on Oct 17 but had made no contact with her or any other relative.

"Today it has been a week since October 17 and I still do not know where my father is," Angela Gui said. "I am deeply concerned for his wellbeing."

China's Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year Gui Minhai won a prize for free speech and press freedom awarded by Swedish media organisation Publicistklubben.

Earlier video report:

 (Video YouTube/Hong Kong Free Press)


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