Screenshot from the Linkedin profile of Chen Xuefei Axelsson, who is about to be deported from Sweden to China.

Information on the detained Chinese journalist to be deported from Sweden

Swedish public television and newspaper Göteborgs-Posten today broke the news that Sweden is to deport a Chinese journalist who was detained by the Swedish Security Service in October last year. Her work during the last decade is said to constitute a threat to Sweden’s national security.

While the name of the journalist is not revealed in Swedish media, Kinamedia can with certainty disclose her identity as Chen Xuefei Axelsson, editor of online publication Green Post. She moved to Sweden almost 20 years ago, married a Swedish husband and got one child residing in Sweden.

In her capacity as an editor of Greenpost, Chen was found to work together with a Chinese intelligence officer. She was also known to work close with the Chinese embassy, and according to a report from the Swedish National China Centre last year, Green Post gets paid by the embassy for some of the content it publishes.

According to the same report, a large part of Green Post’s material comes from its cooperations with Chinese state media, Communist Party organs and actors with connections to United Front organisations in Sweden.

The report is also mapping the connections between Green Post, its editor Chen (”Chefredaktör”) and the Chinese state:

Graphics by Swedish National China Centre

The Swedish Migration Board in November last year made the decision to deport Chen, with a life long ban on returning. An appeal was rejected by the Swedish government, and Minister of Justice Gunnar Strömmer on April 4 signed off on the Migration Board’s decision.

Under Chen, Green Post was also organising ”photo exhibitions” and other cultural events, often focusing on Xinjiang, which I reported about here on Kinamedia in 2020.

The purpose of those events seems to have been to cover up the ongoing repression against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, instead painting a rosy picture of a region in total happiness.

One of Chen’s own reports from a such event in Stockholm named Xinjiang Photo Exhibition can still be read via Green Post. Below is also a Youtube video where Chen is talking about ”media’s responsibility” when reporting about counter-terrorism, de-radicalisation and human rights with regards to Xinjiang:

Apart from the above mentioned activities, Swedish media today reports how Chen’s work also included receiving Chinese government and business delegations to Sweden, and try to arrange visits for them at different Swedish government departments and agencies.

A short profile of Chen Xuefei Axelsson can still be seen via Green Post and LinkedIn.

Sweden is no stranger to Chinese ”journalists” engaging is influence or even intelligence operations. In 2010, an accredited journalist for People’s Daily got expelled from Sweden as he was exposed an undercover intelligence officer involved in refugee espionage against the Uyghur diaspora.

Chinese ”journalists” were also involved in a refugee espionage case against the Tibetan community in Sweden that was exposed in Sweden in 2020.

While all sides have an interest in handling the 2010 expulsion of a Chinese journalist from Sweden in a quiet manner, the case with Chen Xuefei Axelsson could have more serious implications on bilateral relations.

This time around, we are not facing an expulsion but a deportation, and after half a year detainment on top of that. Not exactly something that is likely to be ignored in a time when the Chinese government is increasingly focusing on protecting its citizens’ interest abroad.

A reaction from the Chinese side seems inevitable, and we know from past experience that Swedish journalists in Chinese would now be better off looking over their shoulders.