A LoyaltyLobby reader from Sweden alerted us to a story that is becoming a diplomatic spat between Sweden and China.
A Chinese family had tried to check in to an upscale hostel a day early (late in the evening) and had asked if they could sleep/stay in the lobby. As this was a hostel, they didn’t have space and things went down from there. Police were called to remove the guests that still refused to leave voluntarily.
UPDATE: The following video was uploaded to YouTube:
Photos that the family has shared on the social media:
Here’s the statement from the Chinese Embassy in Sweden (access here):
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. 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.
South China Morning Post has (access here) information on what happened from the family’s point of view:
As they were not allowed to check in until 2pm that day, the family asked if they could wait in the lobby, but staff refused and called the police, the social media post said.
On social media the tourist said he and his parents were forcibly removed by the police, despite his parents feeling sick.
He said also that he and his parents were driven away from the hotel in a police car and dropped off near a cemetery. A video accompanying the post appeared to show his father lying on a pavement with his wife sitting beside him, both of them crying, as two female police officers looked on.
Later the same day the tourist filed a complaint with the Stockholm police and at the Chinese embassy.
Sveriges Radio has statement from the Generator Hostel (access here – Google translate):
The hotel manager says to Aftonbladet that the family failed, refused to leave the lobby and became increasingly threatening. The station commander at the Norrmalm police said for the newspaper that a patrol was called 01.43 at which the tourists were rejected.
“It’s no police’s opinion about it anymore, but it has been handed over to prosecutors on special investigations,” says informer Eva Nilsson to Ekot.
The family complains in Chinese media that they were left at a dark and cold cemetery far away from wildlife buildings nearby.
Aftonbladet also reports that the family had arrived in the evening (access here – Google translate):
The boss states that it was a stretched process, the family arrived in the evening and at some point after midnight, they finally called the police.
– From our side, we only know that we have done everything we have been able to 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 in our hotel.
The staff stated that the three hung up in a couch in the lobby and first refused talking, according to the police’s incident report.
Then the tourists said they were sick, but the staff did not think they looked sick. Then it broke, the staff said to the police.
“The staff felt they were just sitting there waiting for a day to come. So they were rejected, says the station commander at Norrmalmspolisen to Aftonbladet.
We are not sure why these tourists just didn’t book another hotel for the night that would have been good for the “frail” parents? You cannot come around midnight/late evening and expect to check in for the following day when the standard check in time is 2PM.
The Dalai Lama had just visited Sweden so the Chinese Embassy and media perhaps want to escalate the situation and blame the Swedish?
I am not sure what the Generator Hostel or the Swedish police should have done? If the guests didn’t have reservation for the night and refused to leave, should hotel have allowed them to camp in the lobby area? Should the police have put these Chinese tourists in a holding cell for the night?
If the parents were sick and didn’t feel well, perhaps they should have used the travel health insurance they must carry to get a Schengen Visa and go to see a doctor?
I do feel sympathy for the elderly parents but whomever they were traveling with (son/daughter) didn’t do his/her planning well and wasn’t willing to spend the money to have a comfortable sleep in the hotel bed. You cannot blame the Generator Hostel or the Swedish police for that.