China-Sweden relations December 18, Ambassador Gui Congyou accepted an exclusive interview with Branstrom from the Swedish Express newspaper at the embassy on
Reporter: Hello, Mr. Ambassador, please tell us about your work as an ambassador.
Ambassador Gui: I am very happy to accept the interview with Express. The mission of the ambassador is to promote friendly exchanges and cooperation with the host country. China and Switzerland share extensive common interests in various fields, and bilateral cooperation has a sound foundation and development potential. China pursues an open and win-win development strategy, and Switzerland also adheres to open development and free trade. There are many common languages for further development of friendly cooperation between China and Switzerland. The world today is facing a series of new challenges and threats, such as the spread of the pandemic, the rise of protectionism, the prevalence of terrorism and extremism, and global warming. All these require the joint response of countries in the world, including China and Switzerland. China is committed to developing China-Switzerland friendly cooperative relations and hopes that Sweden will meet China halfway.
Reporter: I have read some materials, and I feel that Mr. Ambassador is very angry with the report of “Express”?
Ambassador Gui: It’s not enough to be angry. We hope that the Swedish media including Express will report the actual situation in China objectively and comprehensively, and do more to promote the friendly cooperation between China and Sweden. if. China’s development, like many countries including Sweden, inevitably has such problems. The Communist Party of China and the Chinese government have always adhered to the people-centered philosophy, leading the people across the country to jointly solve problems in development and satisfying the 1.4 billion people’s yearning for a better life. We welcome suggestions and even criticisms from foreign people, including the media, on the problems in China’s development. China has this mindset, but we firmly oppose distorted reports, malicious criticisms and even smear attacks that violate objective facts.
We hope that you journalists who are concerned about China will go to China to take a look at it on the spot and interview ordinary people in China instead of sitting in the office and criticizing China out of imagination, or citing malicious reports from anti-China media in the United States, Australia and other countries. As an old Chinese saying goes, seeing is believing, hearing is not, and hearing is not as good as seeing. Our embassy is willing to provide necessary assistance to Swedish journalists who are going to cover China. I wonder if you and your colleagues have been to China?
Reporter: I have not been to China yet. But I have a colleague who applied to go to China, and he has not obtained a visa yet.
Ambassador Gui: Now it is mainly affected by the pandemic. We will actively study the improvement of the pandemic and provide convenience when conditions permit. China has a population of 1.4 billion, a land of 9.6 million square kilometers, and a history of more than 5,000 years. It is the second largest economy in the world. If you come to China for interviews, you must be willing to spend time and energy, go deep into Chinese society, and fully and objectively understand China’s development , Can’t be preconceived, can’t go to China with subjective conclusions or even a magnifying glass to find problems.
Reporter: The pandemic has been going on for a long time. How does the Ambassador view Sweden’s anti-pandemic policy?
Ambassador Gui: The Chinese party and government always put people’s life safety and health first, and adopted the most comprehensive, strictest, and most thorough prevention and control measures to control the pandemic in more than two months. Sweden has its own national conditions and actual conditions. We respect the anti-pandemic policy chosen by the Swedish government. China has never interfered in the internal affairs of other countries, and has never pointed fingers at other countries’ internal affairs. We sincerely hope that the pandemic in Sweden will pass as soon as possible and normal production and life order will be restored as soon as possible. The Chinese side is willing to provide necessary assistance to the Swiss side in fighting the pandemic in accordance with the wishes of the Swiss side.
Reporter: Yesterday the King of Sweden announced that Sweden’s fight against the pandemic had failed. Does the ambassador agree with this view?
Ambassador Gui: First of all, we deeply sympathize with the Swedish people for the severe pandemic, express our deep condolences to those who died in Sweden due to the pandemic, and express our deep condolences to their families. As I have just said, we will not point fingers at Sweden’s internal affairs. We support the Swedish government and people’s anti-pandemic efforts, and are willing to provide necessary assistance for Sweden to fight the pandemic. We also hope that Sweden can unite as one and overcome the pandemic as soon as possible.
Reporter: How did the ambassador report the Swedish pandemic to the country?
Ambassador Gui: Whatever I told you, I just report it to the country.
Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, can you talk in depth about your views on Sweden?
Ambassador Gui: First of all, we appreciate Sweden’s practices and achievements in green, environmental protection and sustainable development. Second, I have extensive contacts with people from all walks of life in Sweden, including business, academia, scientific research, and local governments, especially the general public. I deeply appreciate the friendly feelings of all sectors of the Swedish society and the grassroots people towards China, and they are all eager to expand friendly cooperation with China. The mainstream public opinion in all walks of life in Sweden is completely consistent with China’s aspirations to develop friendly and cooperative relations between China and Sweden. Therefore, I am full of confidence in the future of China-Sweden relations.
But on the other hand, I also noticed some changes in Swedish society. For example, when I went to university in the 1980s, I learned that Sweden is a country with high wages, high welfare, and high consumption. Its social security is particularly good. It is like the paradise depicted by ancient Chinese people without closing their homes and roads. Frankly speaking, social security in Sweden today may not be as good as it used to be. We have noticed that the Swedish government, political parties, and all sectors of society are very concerned about social security issues and are actively taking measures to combat crime. We hope that the Swedish government will succeed.
Reporter: Why did the ambassador think Swedish social security has become like this?
Ambassador Gui: This is exactly what I want to know from you. As a Swede, you should know better than us, and we should ask you for advice.
Reporter: We can arrange another discussion on this issue separately. There are more and more people in Sweden who hold negative views of China. According to data from the Pew polling agency in the United States, 40% of people in Sweden held negative views of China in 2004, and this number reached 85% in the summer of 2020. What’s the comment from Mr. Ambassador?
Ambassador Gui: I just said that if you want to understand the actual situation in China, it is best to go to China for yourself. Seeing is believing. To understand the views of the Swedish people on China, we do the same. We should learn directly from the Swedish people instead of citing the opinions of the United States or other countries’ polling agencies. There are 10 million people in Sweden. You can go deep into Swedish society and directly understand the views of the Swedish people. I learned from extensive contacts with the Swedish people that they all advocate friendship with China and they all have a good impression of China. You mentioned the American polling agency. How many Swedish people did they ask? Can it represent the wishes of all sectors of the Swedish society and the general public? What is their need for such a poll? None of this is known to us.
Reporter: Does the ambassador mean that the Swedes have a more positive and positive view of China than the poll results?
Ambassador Gui: Through my own contacts, I learned that the mainstream public opinion in Sweden is friendly to China. They all advocate expanding friendly exchanges and cooperation with China, not the other way around. We hope that the Swedish government’s China policy can represent and reflect the mainstream public opinion of society, rather than based on a poll conducted by a certain US media or organization in a specific circle out of its own needs. For example, if I ask you and your colleagues whether they advocate friendly cooperation with China, I think your answer must be yes.
Reporter: At present, the diplomatic relations between Sweden and China are very cold. It is reported that the ambassador himself has been summoned by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs 40-50 times, which is the highest number of summons by the ambassador. Why is this happening?
Ambassador Gui: First of all, I want to correct your inaccurate statement, which is a meeting, not a “call.” I said at the beginning that the mission of the ambassador is to promote friendly exchanges and cooperation with the host country on behalf of the country, which requires extensive contact with people from all walks of life in the host country. It is a good thing that I have met, exchanged and communicated with colleagues from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is exactly the mission of the ambassador. In fact, in 2018 alone, I met with colleagues from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs more than 60 times. Our dialogue, exchanges and communication are discussing how to focus on consensus, expand friendly exchanges and cooperation between our two countries, and discuss how to manage differences so that they do not affect Sino-Swiss friendly cooperation. This is the common mission of the ambassador and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country, and it is not surprising. Some of these more than 60 meetings were invited by colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country, and some were proposed by me on the initiative. The purpose of these meetings was to promote mutual understanding and understanding between the two countries and their peoples, and to promote relations between the two countries. Yesterday, I was also invited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country to meet with Swiss colleagues to discuss how to develop bilateral relations next year. Both sides have a positive attitude and discuss things that are conducive to the development of bilateral relations. We also hope to meet, talk, communicate and exchange more with you, your colleagues, and friends from various Swedish media. We hope that the more exchanges with all sectors of the Swedish society, the better, which is beneficial to both of us.
Reporter: Sweden’s 5G construction excludes China’s Huawei and ZTE. The Chinese side requires the Swedish authorities to change their decision, but the Swiss side will not change. What do you think of the ambassador?
Ambassador Gui: I have explained China’s position to Sweden many times. China hopes that Sweden will provide a fair, fair, open, transparent, and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies operating in Sweden, just like China provides a fair, open, non-discriminatory business environment for Swedish companies. A fair, open, transparent, and non-discriminatory business environment is the same. The Swedish military and security agencies and the Swedish Postal and Telecommunications Administration said that Huawei posed a “security threat”, but they did not provide any factual basis. Huawei has long proposed that a “no backdoor” agreement can be signed, but the Swiss side has not responded to this. We urge the Swiss side to immediately correct this unfounded wrong decision. We should not talk about democracy, justice, and the rule of law, but aim at others instead of ourselves. Based on the principles of market openness and the rule of law, China has always provided a good business environment for companies from various countries, including Swedish companies, to operate in China. We also hope that Sweden will implement the principles of openness and the rule of law instead of shouting as a slogan. , And only shout to others. Since ancient times, Chinese people have followed a principle in doing things, and they must do it themselves first. I hope Sweden does the same.
Reporter: Although the case has been appealed to the court, the relevant Swedish institutions insist on their original position. What does the Ambassador want to say to Swedish officials, such as Prime Minister Levine?
Ambassador Gui: Our communication channels with the Swedish government are open. We hope that the Swedish government will immediately correct the unfounded wrong decision and not follow Trump’s unreasonable and malicious suppression of Chinese companies. Trump is going to step down. What do you think of Trump?
Reporter: I am a reporter and I have no opinion on this, but it is interesting to watch Trump’s press conference. Where is the ambassador?
Ambassador Gui: We have no opinion on Trump himself. His coming and going down are internal affairs of the United States, and China is not interested in it. The United States is so powerful that no foreign country can decide who is the president of the United States. We do not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. What we care about is how to develop our own country and improve the living standards of 1.4 billion people.
Reporter: Going back to the issue of Huawei, because of concerns about espionage, the Swedish authorities will not change the decision. What is your opinion?
Ambassador Gui: Huawei has long announced that it is willing to sign a “no backdoor” agreement. However, the Swiss side did not accept Huawei’s positive proposal, but adopted a passive approach to exclude Huawei, which is incredible. I would like to reiterate that we hope that Sweden will provide Chinese companies including Huawei with a fair, just, open, equal, and non-discriminatory business environment, just as China provides fair, just, and non-discriminatory business environment for all foreign companies, including Sweden. An open, equal, and non-discriminatory business environment is the same.
Reporter: What if Sweden does not do this?
Ambassador Gui: Diplomats do not answer hypothetical questions. We hope that the Swedish government will correct this wrong decision as soon as possible. This is the only correct way to solve the problem.
Reporter: My understanding is that Mr. Ambassador is answering in diplomatic terms.
Ambassador Gui: The diplomat does not answer hypothetical questions, because the hypothesis you mentioned is something that no one wants to happen. Our task is to do the right thing and correct the wrong decision.
Reporter: I don’t know if Mr. Ambassador has seen Swedish media reports on Chinese Communist Party members infiltrating IKEA, Ericsson and some other companies in the UK and the US.
Ambassador Gui: This is nonsense. It is maliciously discrediting China and doing things that undermine cooperation between these countries and China. We firmly oppose it.
Reporter: Why are there such media reports?
Ambassador Gui: A small group of anti-China people continue to maliciously look for problems to damage China’s national image, to damage and obstruct cooperation between their country and China. Such an attempt will never succeed. For such people, I give them two suggestions. First, go to China to see and understand China in reality. Second, stop the despicable practice of malicious smear attacks on China.
Reporter: A Chinese citizen was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison for “espionage” last year. He has now been released from prison and will be sent back to China. Has he already returned to China?
Ambassador Gui: You may not pay attention to my previous interviews with other Swedish media. Our position has been very clear. We don’t understand this person, let alone what he did in Sweden. He has nothing to do with the Chinese government. It is nonsense for a few people in Sweden to say that he is a so-called “Chinese spy”.
Reporter: He was imprisoned in Sweden and will now be sent back to China. Logically speaking, both China and Sweden should understand this.
Ambassador Gui: China did not send a so-called “spy” to Sweden. China does not know this person. This is very clear. This is a unilateral act of some departments of the Swiss side and has nothing to do with China. China is not interested in “espionage” in Sweden. For the person you mentioned, I don’t know how a very small number of people in Sweden concocted this matter. It has nothing to do with China. If you pay attention to China, but only pay attention to the groundless accusations and attacks on China by a very small number of people in Sweden, your view of China will be biased. We welcome you and your colleagues to pay attention to China, but we sincerely recommend that you visit China. Perhaps you will be shocked, because the actual situation in China is completely different from what the malicious people say about China.
Reporter: Before the interview is over, let’s talk about a happier topic. What hobbies does Mr. Ambassador have outside of work?
Ambassador Gui: Friends in Sweden generally like to exercise, and everyone has their own specialties in exercise, which I admire. I have seen my Swedish friends exercising outdoors or indoors every day, and they are also working hard to learn this good habit of strengthening their bodies. Due to the pandemic, we have gone to public places to exercise less in the past year. We hope that the pandemic will pass soon and we can resume outdoor exercise. As a friendly country, we believe that the Swedish people will be able to overcome the pandemic, and wish Sweden better and better in all aspects. In the era of globalization, the destinies of all countries are closely linked. Only when all countries are good can their own country be good. This is why China upholds the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind to conduct friendly exchanges and cooperation with other countries.
Reporter: Some of my relatives and friends have died because of the pandemic. Has anyone known to Mr. Ambassador died because of the pandemic?
Ambassador Gui: I would like to express my deep condolences for the death of your relatives and friends due to the pandemic, and my sincere condolences to you and his family. None of the people I know have died due to the pandemic, which is very lucky. We have also noticed that the Swedish government has continuously reminded the people to strengthen prevention and control, restrict gatherings and face-to-face contact, and we have all complied with. I hope we won’t wear masks in the next interview.
Reporter: Today’s weather is very cold, just like the current Swiss-China diplomatic relations.
Ambassador Gui: The cold weather is temporary, and spring will finally come. Even if the weather is cold, as long as both sides do things that are conducive to Sino-Swiss friendly cooperation, our hearts will be warm.