Gui Minhai, a Hong Kong-born bookseller who became a Swedish citizen in 1996, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday by China’s Ningbo Intermediate People’s Court for illegally providing information overseas. Minhai originally disappeared in 2015 while in Thailand.
A statement by an EU spokesperson released Wednesday morning says, “[Minhai’s] rights, including inter alia to consular access and due process, have not been respected.” The statement goes on to say, “We expect the Chinese authorities to cooperate fully with their Swedish counterparts, in full transparency. The European Union fully supports the efforts of the Swedish government.”
Patrick Poon, Amnesty International’s China Researcher, also expressed doubts about the legality of China’s actions. “Gui Minhai appears to have been tried and convicted in secret, denying him any chance of a fair trial. … The deplorable verdict and shockingly harsh sentence handed to Gui on completely unsubstantiated charges demonstrates yet again that the Chinese authorities are not letting the coronavirus crisis distract them from repressing dissidents.”
China has pushed back against questions about their actions and judicial fairness. In a press conference Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, said “China is a country ruled by law. Our judicial organ dealt with the case strictly in accordance with law, passed the ruling and has fully protected Gui Minhai’s legitimate rights and interests. China firmly opposes interference in its internal affairs and judicial sovereignty in any form by anyone, any organization or any country.”