torsdag 15. februar 2018

Jojje Olsson: The Limits of Quiet Diplomacy With China

Michael Clauss, the German ambassador to China, last week made a brave and unusual statement. The first European ambassador to speak on the record regarding detained publisher Gui Minhai, Clauss told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that all of Europe supports Sweden in taking a harder line against China to secure Gui’s release.

Germany, and many other European countries, see Gui not just as a Swedish case but as a case for the entire EU. Hence, Clauss also underscored a “widespread worry” within the union that citizens from other member countries could also be subject to the same treatment as Gui because of the quiet diplomacy with which Sweden’s government has handled the issue.

In fact, it was only until late January this year that Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström made her first official statement calling for Gui’s release since he was kidnapped by Chinese security agents in Thailand in October 2015. And this short statement was only issued after 10 Chinese plainclothes police rushed into a train and snatched Gui in front of two Swedish diplomats while on his way from eastern China to Beijing for medical treatment for a life-threatening neurological disease he is believed to have developed while behind bars.