China: RSF asks UN to deem Swedish publisher’s detention as arbitrary

RSF submitted yesterday an application to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) for Swedish publisher, Gui Minhai, who has been detained in China for more than 1000 days and is suffering from a serious neurological disease. The purpose is to obtain the official recognition of the arbitrary nature of the detention and allow the UN to publicly question China on the subject.

"For already three years, the Chinese authorities have relentlessly persecuted Gui Minhai for his activities as an independent publisher while being deprived of consular rights and medical assistance,” said Cédric Alviani, director of Reporters Without Borders East Asia office. “We hope that the UN, by officially recognizing the arbitrary nature of this detention, will fortify the international commitment for his release while he is at risk of dying in prison.”

Gui Minhai, 54, is a Chinese-born Swedish citizen is one of the founders of Mighty Current, a Hong Kong publishing house well known for its books exposing the private lives of prominent Chinese leaders. He was initially abducted in Thailand in October 14, 2015 and mysteriously reappeared on Chinese state TV a few months later. Last October 2017, the Chinese authorities claimed they had “released” him while they in fact kept him under close surveillance.

On January 20, 2018, the publisher was arrested on a train while on his way to Beijing to seek a second opinion from the Swedish embassy’s doctors following the diagnosis of a severe neurological disease. He is currently detained by Public Security Bureau of Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province and is suspected of “illegally providing state secrets and intelligence overseas.”

Both Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel peace laureate and winner of the RSF Press Freedom Prize, and the blogger Yang Tongyan died last year from ailments that were left untreated while they were detained.

The People’s Republic of China is ranked 176th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Index.