The Chinese Embassy in Sweden has accused the Swedish police of violating the human rights of three Chinese tourists who were denied entry into a Stockholm hostel earlier this month.
The saga allegedly began when the tourists — a man and his elderly parents — arrived a little too early at the Generator Stockholm hostel on Sept. 2.
Instead of checking in at 2 p.m., the family showed up just after midnight.
The tourists reportedly offered to pay extra so they could stay in the lobby until their check-in time, but management declined. When they refused to leave, Swedish police were called.
The police allegedly threw the family out and dropped them off near a cemetery.
However, with the help of some locals, the tourists managed to return to the city and report the incident to the Chinese Embassy.
In a video, the man, identified as Zeng, can be seen crying with his mother, while his father lays on the ground.
Zeng’s father, 67, reportedly suffers from a cardiovascular disease. He allegedly lost consciousness and twitched during the incident.
Speaking to the Global Times, Zeng recalled how he had asked the hostel to let them stay as his parents had health problems but was refused.
“The police offered no humanitarian assistance to us during the emergency,” China News quoted Zeng as saying. “They kept beating my parents and even threatened to abandon us in the woods with wild animals.”
“We just wanted to leave this place and go back home.”
Following the incident, Zeng took to Chinese social media to relay his family’s experience. Netizens had mixed reactions, with some expressing sympathy and condemning the Swedish police for their questionable handling of the situation.
However, others criticized Zeng’s family, saying that the scene escalated due to his family’s outrageous behavior.
In a statement on Sept. 15, two weeks after the incident, the Chinese Embassy in Sweden said that it is “deeply appalled and angered” over the behavior of the Swedish police.
“Around midnight on 2 September, three Chinese tourists were brutally abused by the Swedish police. The Chinese Embassy in Sweden is deeply appalled and angered by what happened and strongly condemns the behavior of the Swedish police.
“The Embassy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China have made solemn representations to the Swedish government respectively in Stockholm and Beijing, stressing that what the police had done severely endangered the life and violated the basic human rights of the Chinese citizens.”
The embassy also slammed the Swedish government’s delayed response to Chinese citizens demanding justice.
“We urged the Swedish government to conduct thorough and immediate investigation, and respond to the Chinese citizens’ requests for punishment, apology and compensation in time. We cannot understand why the Swedish side has not given us any feedback. We hope that the Swedish side will handle the case in accordance with law, and urge the Swedish side again to take immediate actions to protect the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Sweden.”
The Swedish Embassy finally responded on Sept. 16, saying that a special prosecutor has been assigned to work on the case.
A manager from Generator Stockholm also spoke about the incident, telling local newspaper Aftonbladet that the police were called when the tourists started making verbal threats.
“We only know that we have done everything we could do for this guest, but at the same time we can not accept that our staff are exposed to threats and that other guests will suffer from a threatening situation.”
According to the Guardian, the incident comes as China and Sweden’s ties come under pressure. The Dalai Lama — whom China views as a violent separatist — visited Sweden last week, while China keeps Swedish citizen Gui Minhai in custody.