According to Norwegian media reports, a Chinese skiing delegation, currently training in Merok, Norway, demanded that a local library remove a Falun Gong related book. The reason was that the Chinese government banned those books in China in 1999. The librarian, however, categorically rejected the Chinese delegation’s demand.
Library manager Anne Marken told the Norwegian newspaper Trondheim, “Norway has freedom of speech, so we can’t comply with their request.” In preparation for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, more than 40 Chinese cross-country ski athletes and 15 coaches are training in Norway. The training is one of the exchange projects between China and Norway.
The Trondheim pointed out that in the past few weeks there have been three controversial incidents related to Chinese literary works in Merok’s local library. Library manager Marken told The Trondheim, “Three individuals have now asked us to take down that Falun Gong book. In addition, some others have made similar requests for three other books on our shelves. They said that if members of the Chinese ski team were found reading such books, they might be sent to a labor camp or prison in China.”
Marken emphasized that she told the Chinese ski team representatives that all the books in the library are available for ski team members to read, but the library will never remove any books because of the ski team’s request.
This is not the first time that Chinese groups have exerted pressure on foreign institutions overseas. In November 2019, China threatened to retaliate after the Swedish PEN awarded the Tucholsky Prize to Gui Minhai, a book dealer the Chinese regime abducted and who has been detained since 2015. After that incident, China announced that it cancelled plans for two business delegations to visit Sweden.
Source: Deutsche Welle, January 3, 2020