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How China Uses Forced Confessions as Propaganda Tool

April 10, 2018

Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen, was another of the booksellers caught up in the sweep in 2015. In his case, he was abducted from his vacation home in Thailand and returned to China. There he faced charges under mysterious circumstances that provoked international condemnation and the involvement of the government of Sweden.

Mr. Gui has since appeared in three recorded videos. In the first, he declared that he had returned voluntarily, which his relatives and colleagues strongly dispute.

The latest, shown in February, came after a bizarre turn of events. Mr. Gui, who was released from prison last year but kept under close scrutiny in the city of Ningbo, near Shanghai, was arrested in January aboard a train traveling to Beijing while he was accompanied by Swedish diplomats, who were ostensibly escorting him to medical treatment.

In a video broadcast on state television, Mr. Gui appeared tense, often pausing or repeating himself, saying that the Swedes were using him as a pawn. He was also shown being interviewed by the media in Hong Kong. The video here appeared on the website of The South China Morning Post. The newspaper faced criticism for its role but later said the interview was done without preconditions, though with the cooperation of the authorities.

Mr. Gui’s daughter, Angela, who has campaigned for his release, told the report’s researchers that it was painful to watch. “It’s the kind of thing nobody should ever have to experience,” she said, “so there shouldn’t be words for it.”

Olivia Mitchell Ryan contributed research from Beijing.

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