China releases Swedish rights activist

This undated photo at an undisclosed location provided to AFP by the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group shows Swedish human rights activist Peter Dahlin. Chinese state media on 19 January 2016 accused Peter Dahlin, detained amid a crackdown on outspoken lawyers, of inciting opposition to the government, publishing a confession from a detained colleagueImage copyright
AFP/Getty Images

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Peter Dahlin was detained amid a wider crackdown on lawyers and rights activists

China has released a Swedish rights activist it had accused of damaging national security.

Peter Dahlin, 35, has been held since early January amid a crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists.

Last week he appeared on state media apparently confessing to breaking the law through his organisation’s support of local Chinese rights lawyers.

It was not immediately clear why Mr Dahlin was released or if he would be immediately leaving China.

Sweden’s foreign minister welcomed his release, but expressed concern about another Swede in Chinese detention.

Gui Minhai, a Swedish national who lived in Hong Kong, is one of five people linked to a Hong Kong publishing house to disappear in recent months. He vanished while on holiday in Thailand in October last year.

He had also appeared on Chinese TV earlier this month, saying he had voluntarily handed himself over to the authorities.

Many in Hong Kong believe the five were kidnapped by China and are being held because of allegations in a book they were working on, critical of the mainland.

Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said Sweden’s “efforts to get a clear picture of his situation and the possibility to visit him continue with undiminished force”.

Mystery disappearances in Hong Kong book world

Gui Minhai: 51, disappeared while staying in Thailand in October 2015. The China-born Swedish national owns the Mighty Current publishing house

Lui Bo: last seen in mainland China, just north of Hong Kong, in October 2015. General manager of Mighty Current

Cheung Jiping: 32, last seen in mainland China in October 2015. Mighty Current’s business manager

Lam Wingkei: 60, last seen in Hong Kong in October 2015. Manager of Causeway Bay bookstore

Lee Bo: 65 – also known as Paul Lee – disappeared in Hong Kong in late December 2015. A shareholder in Causeway Bay bookshop and a UK passport holder. Wife withdraws request for police to help find him in early 2016 saying he has been in contact from mainland China

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