CHINA / DIPLOMACY
China has no judgment on Sweden’s coronavirus policy: ambassador
Published: Dec 21, 2020 02:48 PM

China's Ambassador to Sweden Gui Congyou (left) answers questions from Swedish media Expressen on Friday. Photo: Screenshot from the Chinese Embassy in Sweden



China never interferes in other countries' internal affairs and respects the anti-epidemic policy the Swedish government has chosen, said China's Ambassador to Sweden Gui Congyou when asked about his view of Sweden's "failed" coronavirus policy in an interview with Swedish media Expressen. 

The interview was published Sunday on the embassy's website. It covered a wide range of topics including the Swedish government's COVID-19 policy, Swedish media's reports on China, current strained China-Sweden relations as well as the dispute involving Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE.

Gui started his tenure as ambassador to Sweden in 2017 and has been described by some foreign media as being the Chinese ambassador most frequently "summoned" by the Swedish Foreign Ministry so far. 

However, Gui corrected the term "summon" during the interview. He said the frequent "meetings" that he held with the Swedish Foreign Ministry have helped strengthen communication between the two countries. 

Sweden has seen a soaring number of COVID-19 deaths and Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf said Thursday the country's approach to COVID-19 "has failed." 

When Expressen asked Gui on his views of Sweden's epidemic situation and government policy, he clarified China's position that it never makes any judgment about the internal affairs of other countries.

"Sweden has its own national conditions. We respect the anti-epidemic policy chosen by the Swedish government. China never intervenes in other countries' internal affairs," he said.  

Gui expressed sympathy for the Swedish people who have suffered from the epidemic and said China is willing to give a helping hand to Sweden in combatting the virus. 

He stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation and communication between two countries, which share broad common interests in various fields and have a sound foundation and potential for further development of bilateral relations. 

He stressed that the Swedish media must stop their biased and maliciously distorted reports about China, which have greatly damaged China-Sweden relations. 

He encouraged Swedish reporters to visit China to gain a real and comprehensive understanding of the country and the Chinese people. 

This was not the first time that Gui has criticized some Swedish media's prejudiced and hostile reports on China. In an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter in October, 2018, he slammed some media for vilifying, attacking and smearing China on related issues. 

Since arriving in Sweden, Gui has been engaged in promoting dialogue between China and Sweden through frequent meetings with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on overcoming differences. 

He said he had more than 60 meetings with the Foreign Ministry in 2018 alone. The ambassador believed more dialogue and communication is conducive to the healthy development of relations between the two countries. 

When asked about the increasing number of Swedes who hold a negative view of China, as shown in a survey by the Pew Research Center, Gui believed Swedish people's real general view about China is more positive than the survey showed and questioned its credibility and the representativeness. 

"We hope that the Swedish government's policy toward China can represent and reflect the mainstream public opinion, rather than base itself on opinion polls conducted by some US media and organizations that conduct surveys among a certain group of people to meet their own objectives," he said. 

The interview also touched upon the topic of Huawei and ZTE being excluded from participating in the 5G expansion in Sweden. 

Gui once again clarified China's position on the issue, stating that the relevant Swedish authorities' accusation against Huawei of posing a threat to Swedish network security is entirely groundless and not supported by any evidence. He urged the Swedish government to offer an open, fair, impartial, transparent and non-discriminatory business climate for Chinese companies in Sweden.
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