Chinese President on First Visit to Stockholm

Chinese President Hu Jantao has started a 3-day official visit to Stockholm – the first-ever Chinese presidential visit to Sweden.

Observers hope that his talks with Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt and others will help increase Swedish-Chinese trade ties.

Also on the agenda – talks between Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and his Chinese counter-part on the sensitive question of human rights in China.

Two groups in Sweden have recevied permission to demonstrate against the visit – refugees from China and Swedes protesting the crackdown on the meditation movement Falun gong – some of whose members in China have been attacked and imprisoned.

The visit comes the day before the return to Sweden of a 3-masted, wooden replica of an 18th Century sailing ship the ”Gothenberg.” The ship complets a 2-year public relations trip from the Swedish west coast city of that name to the Chinese port of Canton – retracing the routes of the old Swedish East India line.