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Ann Linde calls the statement an “unacceptable threat”. ”We have summoned the ambassador and we will discuss his latest statement”, she says. Foto: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The foreign minister calls statement from China’s ambassador “Unacceptable threat”

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In a meeting this coming Tuesday, The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be discussing the Chinese ambassador’s comments on Swedish media, and how they are “trying to provoke a fight with a heavyweight champion”, foreign minister Ann Linde tells SVT Nyheter.

-  In Sweden, freedom of speech applies, and what China’s ambassador is doing right now is very serious. On several occasions, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and I have stated to the Chinese embassy and the ambassador, that freedom of speech is protected by the Swedish constitution, and that journalists have the right to carry out their work freely, says foreign minister Ann Linde (Swedish Social Democratic Party).

The Chinese ambassador Gui Congyou has been called to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to discuss his statement that Swedish media and journalists are interfering in China’s internal affairs, and that the relationship reminds him of two boxers.

– It is like when a lightweight boxer is trying to provoke a fight with a heavyweight boxer, and said heavyweight boxer is kindly encouraging the lightweight to mind his own business, out of good will, Congyou tells SVT Nyheter.

Has been summoned to the Ministry on “several occasions”

Ann Linde calls the statement an “unacceptable threat”.

– We have summoned the ambassador to a meeting on Tuesday, and we will be discussing his latest statement, she says.

According to Ann Linde, the Chinese ambassador has been summoned to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on “several occasions”. The Left Party and the Christian Democrats have previously stated that they want the Chinese ambassador be sent back to China. However, Ann Linde does not believe that is the right action to take vis-á-vis China.

– We do not believe that is the right way to go, even though the ambassador’s statements are serious. It is important to have a direct interaction with China, and that we can make our opinions very clear and be able to provide criticism. We believe it is worse not to have a Chinese ambassador in Sweden, since our concerns would then not be reaching China directly, she says.

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