Last night Gui Congyou, the Chinese ambassador to Sweden, had a somewhat awkward interview with the public Swedish broadcaster SVT.
Anders Holmberg, the host of 30 minuter (30 minutes), one of Sweden’s leading prime time interview shows, just wouldn’t let the ambassador get away with not answering his questions.
This caused some articulating problems for Gui. He was obviously uncomfortable with having to deny and explain the atrocities in Xinjiang not only one but five times, searching the back of his head for new talking points as the old ones wouldn’t make Holmberg leave the topic.
He must already have been confused when next up he got a question about a threatening e-mail his embassy sent to me earlier this month. The mail was a result of my reporting on Xinjiang, or more precisely the boycott of H&M after the Swedish fashion retailer stopped buying cotton from the region.
In an attempt to lower my credibility, ambassador Gui tried to explain that I am by no means a China expert, since I have not been in China for five years. Instead, he claimed that I have spent the past few years in Taiwan, colluding with Taiwanese separatist forces.
The look on the ambassador’s face as he realises that he just said Taiwan is not a part of China, is nothing short of priceless.
For readers who don’t speak Swedish or Chinese, please see below a translation of the question and the answer in the clip above:
Q: As Swedish media was writing about the boycott against H&M, you wrote an e-mail to Expressen’s correspondent based in Taiwan, and threatened him with “consequences” unless he changed his way of reporting. What kind of consequences did you mean?
A: First of all, Olsson calls himself a China expert. But he doesn’t do any research about Chinese issues in Sweden, neither does he do any research about Chinese issues in China. He has moved to.. for a long time.. in.. Taiwan.. talking about China – but Taiwan is also a part of China – but he is colluding with Taiwanese separatists on Taiwan, and making anti-China statements, frequently making wrongful anti-China statements.
Furthermore, this was not the first time ambassador Gui Congyou said Taiwan is not a part of China. The same Freudian slip was made in the above mentioned threatening e-mail his embassy sent to me earlier this month.
Below is an excerpt from this mail where the embassy is trying to make the same point, only to fall into the very same trap:
You have not been in China for more than five years, and you never lived in Beijing for an extended period of time, yet you put up a sign “InBeijing”and claim to be a “China expert” though you are completely the opposite, which proves the falsity of your comments.
Apart from several Swedish media, the ambassador’s comments was picked up by local outlet Taiwan News in the article ”Chinese embassy unwittingly admits Taiwan is independent in threatening email to Swedish journalist”.
So now when ambassador Gui Congyou stated twice within a couple of weeks that Taiwan is not a part of China, one can not but wonder – is it the ambassador himself who are colluding with Taiwanese separatist forces?
Hopefully, his superiors in Beijing would be interested to look into this matter.
* Note: The Youtube clip above was sent to me from SVT before the editing was finished. The entire 30 minute interview, including the ambassador’s Freudian slip about Taiwan, can be seen online via SVT Play.
Gui Congyou left Sweden in late September.