The Chinese ambassador to Sweden has launched another attack on the country's media, saying its regular criticisms of China were "smears".
Gui Congyou, who has become well-known for his outspoken attacks, also told the state broadcaster SVT that the "frequent vicious attacks on the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government by some Swedish media" were comparable to a 48kg light featherweight boxer taking on a fighter almost twice his size.
"The 86kg boxer, out of good will to protect the lightweight boxer, advises him to leave and mind his own business, but the latter refuses to listen, and even breaks into the home of the heavyweight boxer. What choice do you expect the heavyweight boxer to have?" Gui said.
In the January 8 interview Gui also compared some Swedish media and journalists to the petty-minded main character in the Chekhov short story Man in the Case, and said they sat in their offices while "trying to think of ways to slander China", according to transcripts released by the embassy.
"Some Swedish media and journalists always make groundless accusations and attacks on China, instigating confrontation, hatred and division between the two countries and peoples. It is hard to tell what their agenda is," Gui said.
Gui also said the embassy would be justified in denying visas to journalists who did not want to visit China to "promote friendship, communication, understanding and cooperation".
Relations between China and Sweden have been tense since Gui Minhai, a Chinese-born Swedish book publisher disappeared from Thailand in 2015.
He was one of the five Hong Kong booksellers who specialised in titles about the Chinese leadership who went missing and later reappeared in mainland China.
Gui was released in October 2017 but remained in the mainland before being detained again in 2018 while travelling to Beijing in the company of Swedish diplomats.
The Chinese embassy in Sweden has issued a number of forcefully worded statements about the case, including one titled "Ambassador Gui Congyou Refutes Lies of Swedish Media About the Case of Gui Minhai" in November.
The statement was published shortly before PEN International's Swedish branch handed Gui Minhai the Tucholsky award, which is given annually to a writer or publisher who faces persecution or has been forced into exile.
At the time the ambassador had warned that Beijing would "take counter measures" if the Swedish culture minister Amanda Lind attended the awards ceremony, which she subsequently did.
Ambassador Gui has also lashed out at the Swedish media for portraying China as a threat and accused it of bias when covering the case of a family of tourists who accused the police of mistreating them in September 2018.
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