Only a few days after Gui Minhai’s tearful televised confession, another Swedish citizen has been shown on CCTV making an apparent apology for engaging in activities that were “harmful to China.”
35-year-old human rights activist and co-founder of the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group (CUAWG), Peter Dahlin, was the focus of a Xinhua report released Tuesday night. The report was accompanied by footage shown on state media of Dahlin making his “confession”:
I violated Chinese law through my activities here, I’ve caused harm to the Chinese government, I’ve hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. I apologize sincerely for this and I regret that this ever happened.
Dahlin was detained at the Beijing airport early on the morning of January 4th as he was preparing to take a flight to Thailand. Initially, China’s Foreign Ministry denied awareness of the case, but later said that the Swedish national had been taking part in activities that had “endangered state security.”
Swedish officials were allowed to visit Dahlin for the first time over the weekend. In the news report, Dahlin says that he has been treated well during his detention with special attention paid to his “unique medical situation.” Dahlin has Addison’s disease, a hormonal disorder that requires daily medication.
The Swedish embassy says that they are still in the process of “investigating” his situation.
The Xinhua report lists a number of charges made against Dahlin and his group, The New York Times provides a breakdown:
It said Mr. Dahlin admitted to writing reports without “real or full facts.” It also said that the lawyer and activists trained by the group “got involved in hot-topic issues and sensitive cases, and intentionally escalated conflicts and disputes that were originally not severe.”
“It instigated the people to confront the government and produce mass incidents,” the article said.
The official report also accused Mr. Dahlin of taking almost half of about $1.6 million of financial support the group had received from outside sources in recent years.
Mr. Dahlin and his group appeared to have been caught up in the Chinese government’s crackdown on human rights lawyers, a campaign centered on putting pressure on the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm. Xinhua said Mr. Dahlin’s partner, Wang Quanzhang, was a member of that firm.
Together, Mr. Dahlin and Mr. Wang registered their group in Hong Kong in 2009 but operated it in Beijing without “proper registration,” the Xinhua report said. The report said that the group received funds from seven foreign nongovernmental organizations or groups and that Mr. Dahlin had been “planted” in China by “Western hostile forces” to gather information that could be used to destroy China’s image globally.
The Xinhua report also linked Mr. Dahlin’s group to a recent attempt to smuggle the son of Wang Yu, a detained member of Fengrui, to a destination outside China
Dahlin’s group released a statement earlier this morning, condemning the Xinhua report, calling the accusations “baseless” and the confession “forced.”
This drama comes only a few days after another curious televised confession made by missing Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai. In tears, Gui says that he voluntarily returned to the Chinese mainland in order to stand trial for killing a college student while drunk driving more than a decade ago. Gui had been missing from his apartment in Thailand since last October.
On Monday, Swedish authorities responded to Gui’s televised confession by requsting to meet with the Swedish national and demanding more “openness” on the part of China.
Watch a news report on Dahlin’s “confession” here:
[Video via Sina]