06:42 GMT09 August 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Washington urged Beijing to explain the reasons behind the arrest and detention of Chinese-born Swedish national Gui Minhai, a book publisher, who has recently been seized by the Chinese authorities, US State Department’s spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Sunday.

    "We are deeply concerned that Swedish citizen Gui Minhai was detained on January 20. We call on Chinese authorities to explain the reasons and legal basis for Mr. Gui’s arrest and detention, disclose his whereabouts, and allow him freedom of movement and the freedom to leave China," the statement read.

    Washington and its European allies share the principles of liberty, equality, and human dignity.

    "We will continue to coordinate with our partners, allies and regional organizations on promoting greater respect for human rights in China," the document concluded.

    Last week, media reported that Gui had been apprehended in China in the presence of two Swedish diplomats while en route to a medical examination at the Swedish embassy in Beijing. Stockholm and Brussels have condemned Beijing’s actions and called for Gui's immediate release.

    READ MORE: Ex-CIA Officer Suspected of Aiding China Arrested at JFK Airport

    The incident is not the first case of Gui's abduction by the Chinese authorities. In 2015, the security services were suspected of seizing the book seller as he was on holiday in Thailand. After it, Gui reportedly lived in detention on mainland China for two years.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday that Sweden and the European Union had no grounds to call for Gui’s release.

    Gui, 53, has been known for publishing satirical books about the Chinese political elite. Beijing suspects Gui of being involved in a deadly car accident in 2003.

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