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Detained Swede appears on Chinese TV

"I apologise sincerely for this"
3:02 min
Swede Peter Dahlin appearing on Chinese TV. Photo: CCTV.
Swede Peter Dahlin appearing on Chinese TV. Photo: CCTV.

35-year-old Swede Peter Dahlin, who is detained in China since the beginning of January, has appeared on Chinese TV with what appears to be a confession that he has "violated Chinese law".

In the programme on the state broadcaster CCTV Dahlin is accused of forming an unlicenced group in China that "fabricated and distorted" information about the country.

Newsagency AFP reports that the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, where Dahlin is a co-founder, has said it offers training to lawyers who have tried to work within the system to redress apparent government abuses. But now the organisation is accused of funding activities that have endangered state security.

In an eight minute long piece, alleged evidence for Dahlin's and his organisations illegal activities is presented. Two other unidentified members of the organisation also appear on the show. Peter Dahlin is filmed as he makes a confessional statement.

"I have violated Chinese law through my activities here, I have caused harm to the Chinese government, I have hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. I apologise sincerely for this, and I am very sorry that this ever happened," Dahlin said in the statement.

Peter Dahlin was arrested on the 4th of January in what appears to be a crackdown on human rights lawyers. His detention comes as China considers a new law to control the activities of foreign non-governmental organisation, AFP reports.

In the TV-report, Dahlin is dressed in everyday clothes, with a shirt and a grey jumper, and is mainly looking down.

"We have been made aware, or become aware that certain people that we have supported at one time or another have gone on to do acts in clear violation of the law," he said in the statement.

Michael Caster is a spokesman for the chinese Urgent Action Working Group. He denounced the accusations against Dahlin and the organisation, calling them "absurd" news agency Reuters reports.

"To purport that Peter was 'planted' in China by foreign forces is part of a trend by Chinese authorities of blaming 'hostile foreign forces' for domestic grievances," Caster told Reuters.

The news agency reports that Swedish diplomats visited Dahlin on Saturday and that the embassy in Beijing has said it is working "intensively" on the matter.

In the clip that was shown on TV, Dahlin says he has been treated well in custody, with "good food" and "plenty of sleep".

This is the second jailed Swedish citizen that has appeared on Chinese TV in just a few days. Two days ago, the book seller Gui Minhai, from Sweden, also appeared on TV saying that he had voluntarily turned himself in to the authorities over a fatal drink-driving offence of more than a decade ago. His mysterious disappearance in October last year had caused fears that he may have been abducted by Chinese agents, Reuters reports.

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