Swedish speed skater donates Olympic gold to Chinese prisoner

Content of the article

STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s two-time Olympic speed skating champion Nils van der Poel has donated one of his gold medals to Chinese-Swedish citizen Gui Minhai, imprisoned in China.

Content of the article

The skater, who won the 5,000m event at the Beijing Olympics and then broke the world record by adding 10,000m gold, presented the medal to Gui’s daughter Angela on Thursday to raise awareness of the human rights situation in China, according to a statement released. by Amnesty International.

“I want human rights violations in China reduced and Gui Minhai released. It’s a lot to ask, but it’s the only reasonable thing to wish for,” Van der Poel said.

Chinese-born but Swedish-born author and bookseller Gui was sentenced to 10 years in prison in February 2022 for illegally providing foreign intelligence.

He had previously lived in Hong Kong and sold books critical of Chinese political leaders, and his arrest and conviction sparked tension with Sweden.

Content of the article

Van der Poel said the recent Winter Olympics in Beijing were exploited to whitewash human rights issues.

We apologize, but this video failed to load.

“I don’t speak for all Olympians, but me and my sports friends have spent our lives fighting for the top and the Chinese government is using our dreams as a political weapon to legitimize their regime. It’s become personal to me. and I felt used,” he said.

Van der Poel presented the Olympic medal to Gui’s daughter, Angela, on Thursday, according to the statement.

“Of course, I would have preferred it not to be necessary. But it is very good that the medal can represent solidarity with political prisoners like my father and the countless other victims of human rights violations in Beijing,” said Angela Gui.

The Swedish government has added its voice to the campaign.

“Two years ago, China announced the sentencing of Swedish and European citizen Gui Minhai to 10 years in prison. We continue to demand consular access and strongly urge that Gui Minhai be released and be reunited with his daughter and family,” Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Linde tweeted.

The Chinese Embassy in Stockholm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Comments are closed.