04/10/2024, 13.52
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Sweden expels Chinese journalist for security threat

by John Ai

Founder of a Chinese propaganda website. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic is considering expelling a Chinese diplomat for following Taiwanese Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim during her visit to Prague in March.

Milan (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Swedish authorities have ordered the expulsion of a Chinese journalist and a permanent ban on her return for national security reasons. The journalist was arrested by Swedish security services in October last year and removed from Swedish territory last week.

Swedish national broadcaster SVT did not release the journalist's name, but did disclose some information. The journalist is a 57-year-old woman who arrived in Sweden about 20 years ago. She married a Swedish man with whom she had children.

According to the report, the woman has established ties with the Chinese embassy in Stockholm and with some people linked to the Chinese government. The journalist has also worked in other Nordic countries, including Denmark and Finland.

According to the Swedish news site, Kinamedia, which covers China-related issues, the expelled journalist is Xuefei Chen Axelsson (陈雪霏), founder of the pro-Chinese government website, Green Post. The Swedish Security Service reportedly discovered that her website was paid by Beijing's embassy in Stockholm to publish articles supporting the Chinese government.

On the Green Post website you can find propaganda articles, such as a photo exhibition on Xinjiang in Stockholm. According to the site's presentation, Chen herself, as editor-in-chief, has worked in past years for China's official media, including China Radio International and Xinhua News Agency.

The website of the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm also did not name the journalist, but urged Swedish authorities to ensure that the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens are not violated.

“We oppose causing problems by spreading rumors – reads the note – we oppose ideologization, we oppose unfounded accusations and slander against China”. Lawyer Leutrim Kadriu defending the woman insisted that she would not harm Sweden's national security, but her appeal was rejected.

Tensions between Sweden and China have lasted for several years now. In late 2015, Swedish citizen and publisher Gui Minhai disappeared while on vacation in Thailand.

Several employees of his Hong Kong publishing house, famous for selling books on Chinese politics, also disappeared into thin air. Chinese security agents are believed to have kidnapped them and taken them back to China.

Furthermore, in 2018, Tibetan Dorjee Gyantsan was sentenced to 22 months in prison for spying on the Tibetan community in Sweden on behalf of the Chinese authorities.

All this is happening as fears over China's aggressive presence grow in Europe. Taiwan's Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim was shadowed by a Chinese diplomat throughout her visit to Prague in March, according to reports from the Czech Republic.

At one point the car she suspects ran a red light and almost caused an accident. The police stopped it and discovered that the driver belonged to the military section of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Prague. The Czech government is considering placing the Chinese military diplomat on the list of unwanted persons, which would lead to permanent expulsion.

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