Swedish rights activist deported from China

BEIJING • China has deported a Swedish human rights activist taken into custody this month on charges of violating national security laws.

"We have deported him," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said in Beijing yesterday.

The ministry earlier said that "under questioning", Mr Peter Dahlin made "a full and frank confession". He was suspected of "funding criminal activities harmful to China's national security", it said, adding that "based on China's relevant laws, China will expel him on Jan 25".

Sweden's Foreign Ministry said the 35-year-old co-founder of the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, which works with Chinese human rights lawyers, was expelled from China on Monday and left for Sweden. Mr Dahlin's girlfriend Pan Jinling, who was detained around the same time three weeks ago, was also released, said Mr Michael Caster, a spokesman for the group.

Mr Caster said on Monday that Mr Dahlin made the confession "under duress in effectively secret detention". Mr Dahlin's expulsion from China followed rising concern in the West after he was shown on Chinese television confessing to misdeeds.

He appeared to be the sole foreigner detained since July as part of the Chinese government's campaign aimed at rights lawyers and advocates, who have been accused of using legal cases to undermine social order and the Communist Party's rule. At least 11 of them were arrested this month on accusations of subversion or inciting subversion.

In a statement, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said she welcomed Mr Dahlin's release, but expressed concern over Swedish citizen Gui Minhai, a Hong Kong-based bookseller who vanished in October. He appeared on television this month, saying he surrendered over a fatal drink-driving offence.

NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'Swedish rights activist deported from China'. Print Edition | Subscribe