Beijing bares its teeth in Stockholm, again, as Canada wonders what to do

The Guardian reports:

China has called off two business delegation visits to Sweden after Stockholm presented a rights prize to dissident Guì Mǐnhǎi 桂敏海, in defiance of Beijing’s threat of “counter-measures.”

Tensions between the two countries have been strained since Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swedish citizen who is known for publishing scandalous books about Chinese political leaders out of a Hong Kong book shop, disappeared in 2015 before resurfacing on the mainland.

China had threatened “counter-measures” before 55-year-old Gui was awarded the Tucholsky award, which is given every year to a writer or a publisher being persecuted, threatened or in exile. The award was unveiled by Swedish culture minister, Amanda Lind, in November.

And this, from the South China Morning Post:  

China’s [undiplomatic] ambassador to Sweden has said the detained Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai is “alive and well” as the fallout from his case continued to affect relations between the two sides.

Ambassador Guì Cóngyǒu 桂从友 was interviewed by the Swedish financial newspaper Dagens industri and, according to a transcript released by the embassy on Thursday, he warned that Sweden must face the consequences of “meddling in [China’s] internal affairs.”

Like Sweden, Canada also has citizens detained on arbitrary charges by the Chinese government. Like Sweden, Canada is struggling to figure out what to do with the jumped-up panda in the room. The Globe and Mail reports (porous paywall):

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he wants the U.S. government to hold off on wrapping up a new trade deal with China until Beijing releases two Canadians it locked up one year ago.

The Chinese government detained former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor in December, 2018, in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Mèng Wǎnzhōu 孟晚舟, a member of China’s corporate elite, on an extradition request from the United States.

China’s response? “China says Canada’s attempt to link U.S. trade matter with other issues doomed to fail,” per Reuters.

—Jeremy Goldkorn