A Swedish man detained in China last week was suspected of acts detrimental to the country’s national security, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The comments Wednesday were its first on the case against the advocate for human rights and legal reform, Reuters reported.
Peter Dahlin, 35, co-founder of the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, was taken into custody Jan. 4, the group said.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry said it had summoned China’s ambassador over the case on Jan. 8.
The meeting also touched on the disappearance in Thailand in October of Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen who is one of five missing publishers and booksellers with business in Hong Kong.
“We take a serious view on the fact that the embassy has not yet been allowed to visit the Swedish citizen detained in China,” Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Ekberg was quoted as saying.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei was quoted as saying at a regular briefing: “Swedish citizen Peter Dahlin has been put under coercive measures in accordance with the law in Beijing on suspicion of engaging in acts that harm China’s national security.
“This case is currently being investigated.”
Coercive measures generally refers to detention.
Hong said China would allow the Swedish Embassy to carry out consular work.
Dahlin’s organisation had previously said consular officials had been unable to communicate directly with Dahlin, and the embassy said it was working to set up a meeting.
The group said it supports public interest lawyers, academics and others in China in promoting the rule of law.
Dahlin’s detention comes amid a widening crackdown on rights lawyers and foreign groups working on legal reform.
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