Swedish Police Treatment of Chinese Tourists Escalates Into Diplomatic Tensions
China is irate following the forceful removal of three Chinese tourists from a hostel in Stockholm, Sweden. Beijing is calling for “punishment, apology and compensation” after a video surfaced showing Swedish police removing the Chinese tourists from the hostel. China insists the human rights of the Chinese citizens have been violated, and subsequently issued a safety alert to all Chinese tourists in Sweden.
According to a manager at the unnamed hostel in Stockholm, the Zengs had arrived on September 2, a day before their booking. They arrived around 2 a.m. even though their reservation was for the next night. They were informed that it was not time for them to check in, but they insisted they would wait in the lobby. After waiting for some time, the Chinese folks began to issue verbal threats to staff and the hostel management called in the police.
Swedish Government Said No Criminal Offense Was Been Committed
The Swedish police arrived and ejected the tourists into the street.
“We only know that we have done everything we could do for this guest, but at the same time we cannot accept that our staff are exposed to threats and that other guests will suffer from a threatening situation,” the hostel manager told Aftonbladet, a Swedish newspaper.
Beijing criticized Sweden for the rough manner the police handled the tourists who were seen crying on the ground. The Chinese Foreign Ministry reached out to the Swedish government and strongly condemned the act. The Chinese Embassy in Sweden issued another request to the government, asking for an investigation.
China said the actions of the Swedish police “severely endangered the life” of the Chinese tourists and violated their basic human rights.
The Swedish Public Prosecution Office has since responded. They said there will be no formal investigations whatsoever into the case because “no criminal offense has been committed by the police.”
Incident Provides Fodder for Chinese Conspiracy Theorists
The news of the incident has gone viral in China, with millions of people weighing in on the matter. On the Chinese microblog Weibo, over 130 million internet queries related to the incident have been registered. And over 85,000 people have commented on the matter. Chinese people within and outside China have expressed their sentiments over the issue, with many verbally aggressive.
The Dalai Lama, a Tibetan spiritual leader who is not in good terms with Beijing visited Sweden last week. Many online commenters spun conspiracy theories between the Dalai Lama’s visit and the September 2 incident.