UPDATES WITH MORE DETAILS
By Zehra Nur Duz and Fatih Hafiz Mehmet
ANKARA (AA) - Three political parties in Sweden’s parliament have called for expelling Chinese ambassador to Sweden after he lashed out at local media over the weekend, media reports said Tuesday.
In an interview with Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT, Gui Congyou said that some local media representatives “have a habit of criticizing, accusing and smearing China”, according to the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based Daily.
"It's like a 48-kilo lightweight boxer picking a fight with an 86-kilo heavyweight boxer, and the 86-kilo boxer out of courtesy and goodwill tells the 48-kilo boxer to mind his own business," Congyou had said at the interview, referring to the Swedish media's coverage of China, according to Swedish news outlet thelocal.se.
Congyou’s remarks led to a diplomatic crisis over the weekend.
The call from the Sweden Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Left Party to expel the ambassador coincided with the summoning of the ambassador at the Swedish Foreign Ministry in Stockholm on Tuesday.
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde left out the option of expelling Gui, while rejecting “veiled threats” from China, according to South China Morning Post.
Officials of the Chinese embassy in Sweden have also contacted Swedish news outlets many times to criticize their coverage of China and tried to influence them, SVT reported.
Tensions between the two countries began after Sweden awarded jailed Chinese-born Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, who has criticized China in his writings, with its annual Tucholsky Prize last year.
Gui Minhai, who has been remanded in custody since late 2015 by Chinese authorities, was accused of “operating an illegal business”, South China Morning Post said.
The Chinese ambassador had previously warned Swedish authorities that his country would take “countermeasures” after awarding of Tucholsky Prize to Gui, according to the daily.