Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai detained in China gets Swedish free speech award

Gui, a Swedish citizen born in China, went missing in 2015.

Hong Kong: 4,000 march against booksellers' detentionsReuters

Gui Minhai, a Hong Kong bookseller who was detained by China in 2015 for publishing books on President Xi Jinping and other leaders of the Communist Party, has been awarded a prize for free speech and press freedom by a Swedish media organisation.

While awarding the Anna Politkovskaya Memorial Prize, Publicistklubben or Press Club said Gui had "despite personal risk ...shown great courage as a publisher and challenged the narrow-mined political agenda of the Chinese regime".

Gui is one among the five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing in 2015 but later ended up in custody in mainland China. The other four have reportedly gone back to Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong has been governed by China under the 'One country, two systems' formula since 1997. The arrests of booksellers had sparked fears that China could be tightening its grip on the country.

Gui, a Swedish citizen born in China was kidnapped while he was on a holiday in Thailand, Publicistklubben said.

The Chinese government was silent about holding him in custody for three months, after which a video confession was broadcast by Chinese media. In the video, he said he returned to China and surrendered to officers out of his own will. It suggested that he was willing to follow the course of justice in China while waiving rights of being a Swedish citizen.

Beijing has maintained that its law enforcement had done nothing wrong in handling Gui's case.

Angela Gui, his daughter was quoted by the Swedish organisation as saying "I am glad that this prize will focus attention on my father's situation."

"Hopefully, more attention ... can lead to more information on his situation and health and that (he) will be treated better."

The prize is named after Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist from Ukraine who was shot dead in Moscow in 2006 and is best known for her reporting on human rights violations in Chechnya.

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Gui Minhai was reportedly kidnapped in Thailand while he was on a holidayScreen grab

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