A youth organisation in Sweden is campaigning for the local authorities to rename a square outside Gothenburg’s Chinese consulate after imprisoned Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai.

A representative from the Liberal Party’s youth organisation Olle Johnson told HKFP that the group submitted a proposal to Gothenburg’s city committee and launched an online petition.

Activists putting on posters in Gothenburg. Photo: Olle Johnson.

Gui sold political gossip books in Hong Kong but disappeared during a vacation in Thailand in 2015 only to reemerge on state TV in China “confessing” to past crimes. He was sentenced to 10 years behind bars in February for “illegally providing intelligence” to overseas parties.

Johnson tweeted last Thursday about their poster campaign: “The weather was great yesterday to paste up posters and suggest that Gothenburg support the proposal of renaming the Grönsakstorget square to Gui Minhai Square. It would be great if the Chinese Consulate was under the address 3 Gui Minhai Square.”

The petition – which had attracted over 3,600 signatures by Monday night – said that the stunt would send a strong message to Beijing that their actions were unacceptable: “The name change will remind Gothenburg residents and visitors to the city everyday the importance of defending freedom and human rights.”

Wearing a t-shirt containing the protest slogan “Free Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” Johnson and dozens of other activists put up posters around Gothenburg city.

Sweden-China relations

Several cities axed twin-city agreements with Chinese cities this year as relations between Stockholm and Beijing worsened.

Poster and Olle Johnson. Photo: Olle Johnson.

The Scandinavian country has a deep business relationships with China and the number of Gothenburg citizens employed by Chinese-controlled companies has grown rapidly, according to local newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Rachel Wong previously worked as a documentary producer and academic researcher. She has a BA in Comparative Literature and European Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has contributed to A City Made by People and The Funambulist, and has an interest in cultural journalism and gender issues.