Peter Dahlin appearing on Chinese state TV, apologizing for hurting "the Chinese government and Chinese people." Photo: CCTV.
Peter Dahlin appearing on Chinese state TV, apologizing for hurting "the Chinese government and Chinese people." Photo: CCTV.

Swedish activist home after Chinese detention

Peter Dahlin: happy to be back
1:15 min

A Swedish human rights activist detained by Chinese authorities earlier this month for allegedly threatening national security has returned home to Sweden, Swedish Radio News reports.

Peter Dahlin landed Tuesday morning in Gothenburg after he was arrested and imprisoned on January 3 while boarding a flight to Thailand. Dahlin had lived in China since 2009 and worked with the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, which organizes legal training programs for rights defenders.

"I'm back to Sweden now. I arrived this morning, after various delays, but I'm back in my hometown now with my parents," he told Swedish Radio News. "I'm clearly happy to be back, but three of my colleagues and close friends are still detained, and without any apparent solution" to get them out.

Dahlin said he was kept in isolation during his detention and only received a brief visit from the Swedish embassy. Nonetheless, Dahlin was thankful for the work carried out by the Swedish government on his behalf.

"Even so, I think it has been clear that the embassy in Beijing and the Foreign Ministry here in Sweden has been committed and, as far as I can see, has done an excellent job and really gone above and beyond," he said. "I am obviously very grateful to those who have worked at the embassy with this issue."

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström wrote late Monday, "I welcome the fact that Peter Dahlin can now be reunited with his family in Sweden. This is the result of close contacts between the Swedish Foreign Ministry and Chinese representatives."

On Friday, the Swedish Embassy in Beijing expressed "deep concern" regarding Dahlin's case and that of Gui Minhai, a Swedish national and Hong Kong bookseller who disappeared from Thailand before appearing on Chinese national television in police custody.

Dahlin said Chinese authorities released his girlfriend, a Chinese national, though she remained in the country.

China accused Dahlin of threatening state security and his arrest was part of a wider dragnet against human rights lawyers in China. News agency AFP reports that in January alone at least 10 lawyers were formally arrested on charges related to "state subversion".

Speaking with Swedish Radio News, Dahlin said the allegations against him remained in effect and if he returns to China he could face arrest again.

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