China Accuses Sweden Of Violating Human Rights After Hostel-Booking Confusion

Stockholm, Sweden
Oleksiy Mark / Shutterstock

An incident involving three Chinese tourists at a Swedish hostel has resulted in a diplomatic argument between China and Sweden, reports The Guardian.

A disagreement between Chinese tourists, two parents and their son, and the Generator Stockholm hostel over a check-in time resulted in the hostel calling the police and having the family forcefully escorted out of the building. Beijing has criticized Sweden’s treatment of the Zeng family, claiming that they were “brutally abused” by Swedish police, and demanding an apology.

The family reportedly arrived at the hostel around midnight, hours earlier than their 2 p.m. check in the next day. They requested to be allowed to wait in the lobby, but the staff refused and called the police to have them removed. Video footage from the incident shows the police carrying the family members onto the street while the son yells, “This is killing. This is killing,” and the mom cries “Save me” in Chinese while lying on the ground outside the establishment.

The Chinese embassy in Sweden reported that China’s ministry of foreign affairs and the embassy have “made solemn representations” to the Swedish government, “stressing that what the police had done severely endangered the life and violated the basic human rights of the Chinese citizens,” writes The Guardian. They have demanded an investigation and an apology and compensation for the affected family.

Stockholm police
  Tupungato / Shutterstock

The Chinese embassy also reported that they had yet to receive a response from the Swedish government, saying, “We are deeply puzzled that Sweden’s government has not yet taken the initiative to give feedback to the Chinese government on this matter,” reported the South China Morning Post.

The son posted on Chinese social media site WeChat about the incident, saying that his ageing parents were feeling sick and requested to rest in the lobby while they were waiting for their check-in time. He also claimed that his parents were later driven by a police to a nearby cemetery and left there. The tourist then filed a complaint with the Stockholm police at the Chinese embassy.

The incident has spread across social media sites, receiving thousands of views and comments on microblog Weibo, and sparking a debate over the treatment of Chinese tourists.

One user wrote, “This is shameful. The image of China has been disgraced in the hands of these people,” while another commented, “The Dalai Lama visits Sweden and the foreign ministry uses this incident as a pretext to make a fuss. That’s more embarrassing than the performance of this family.”

Another user felt differently, writing in an essay posted on WeChat, “These people feel the world should move around them, if not, then they lie down on ground and scream for help.”

The hostel manager responded to the tourists’ complaints, saying that the family was making verbal threats and that hostel staff were forced to call the police, writes Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.

“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.”