Peter Dahlin, a Swedish human rights activist being held by Chinese police, appeared on Chinese state television and ‘confessed’ that he was illegally running his group’s activity.
However, Dahlin’s supporters were quick to dismiss the ‘confession’ by saying that he was paraded before television to get a “forced confession.”
Chinese Urgent Action Working Group (China Action) dismissed “ridiculous and absurd” allegations by the Chinese government that Dahlin “fabricated and distorted” information about the country.
“I have no complaints to make. I think my treatment has been fair,” Dahlin, 35, says in the footage which was aired on state broadcaster CCTV. “I have been given good food, plenty of sleep and I have suffered no mistreatments of any kind.”
“I violated Chinese law through my activities here,” the activist adds. “I have caused harm to the Chinese government. I have hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. I apologise sincerely for this and I am very sorry that this has happened.”
The Chinese government says the Swedish national was operating an unlicensed rights group in China, which “fabricated and distorted” information about the country and organized others to “interfere” in sensitive cases.
Beijing confirmed earlier this month that authorities had detained Dahlin, the 35-year-old co-founder of the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, on suspicion of endangering state security. The organization worked with Chinese human rights lawyers.
Chinese police and national security authorities said in a statement they had “smashed an illegal organization that sponsored activities jeopardizing China’s national security”. The statement was released via the official Xinhua news agency late on Tuesday.
Sweden’s embassy in Beijing said it continued to work “intensively” on the matter and that its diplomats had visited Dahlin on Saturday.
“He is feeling well considering the circumstances,” Gabriella Augustsson, head of public diplomacy for the Swedish embassy in Beijing, said in an email.
Xinhua said Dahlin and others operated an unregistered “China emergency rights aid group” and received undeclared money from overseas to carry out “unregulated activities”.
“The organization hired and trained others to gather, fabricate and distort information about China,” the report said.