China: Swedish student's passport confiscated for flash mob call

A Swedish student, Sven Englund studying in Shanghai Fudan University was summoned by Shanghai police for writing a letter to the Chinese President Hu Jintao in his blog. His passport has been confiscated after the interrogation.

Below is the summon document issued by the Shanghai police:

It stated that Sven Englund is suspected of “being harmful to social management” and has violated article 55 of the “PRC social security management law”. The interrogation was set on July 1, 2011 at the school general office.

According to Sven Englund's tweet[zh], he was planning to return to Sweden on July 26, but now the Shanghai police has confiscated his passport. The police promised to return the passport to him on July 7, 2011 (Today). He has contacted the Swedish embassy[zh] but the ambassador is helpless.

During the interrogation, the police officers asked him to disclose the login password[zh] of his blog, but he refused, saying that their demand has violated his rights.

Below is a translation of his blog post[zh] published on June 27, 2011:

Dear President Hu:


You haven't replied to my first two letters. Probably you are too busy with your preparation of July 1 celebration. Actually, I have my own planning and preparation. Today, I took some photos in the Shanghai Putong district. The idea comes from Ai Weiwei. Do you know Ai Weiwei? He had an Art exhibition called “Fuck art”. I usually do not use that term, but freedom of information is very important. In my opinion, China do not have such freedom. Hence I have this plan for my “July 1″: a flash mob action at 6pm at Pudong district. I cannot just go there alone, I need a “flash mob”, that's why I wish you can join me and forward this message to all your friends who love freedom. If you do not have time to come to Shanghai, you can organize a “flash mob” in any of your city. Okay?

The plan of this flash mob action is like this: come to Pudong or other suitable spot in your city at 5:50pm. Then freeze your action at 6pm. It would be great if you wear the word “freedom” in your body, so that more people would understand the meaning of our action. You can resume your move at 6:05pm. Just go wherever your like, I would go home to prepare for my examination. Do you understand? You can take reference from Youtube:

Maybe you can't access the website because in China you don't have information freedom. In that case you can go here:

Below are some photos for your reference:

Ai Wei Wei's photo

my photo, I like hug better

Ai Weiwei's finger

My finger! Meaning: be a flash mob on July 1

Time: July 1 (Friday), 15:55-18:05 (18:00 “freeze”)
Place: Shanghai Pudong or a suitable spot in your own city. (if you want to organize the action, please let me know).

If you want to join, please leave a message in the comment section. Forward this to your friends who are freedom lovers. If you are organizing your own action in your city, please remember to upload photos and videos of the action.

Wish you happy everyday.
Friend, Sven.
June 27, 2011.


  • Leo

    If I were the author, I’d wait for a while before publishing. What if the censors saw Sven’s documentation, and see it as a sign of breaking the probation period, thus giving the authority excuses to take more grave actions than confiscating the passport?

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  • i don’t think publishing sven’s story in this stage is a problem. he has committed no crime and confiscating his passport is totally unreasonable. should let the international community know about it. sven has kept the story to himself for a week, and i think the fact that he starts telling the story in the public, he knows that it will spread quickly.

    anyway, as he is planning to leave the country, the police will be glad to see he gone.

    • Max

      The thing is, as a friend I have been in touch with him during the process. He was on probation when his passport was being held. The reason he wrote about his experience in Swedish was because he thought the censors couldn’t read Swedish so he could “go public” without drawing attention. If he really wanted to spread the story, he would’ve written in English. Then there is no need for translation.

      I totally agree that confiscating the passport is unreasonable. However, I’d rather go all-in after he gets back his passport. As it turned out, the censors knew what he wrote by using google translate. That might be one reason he got his passport back on Jul 7th instead of 4th and kicked out of country on 8th: in the eyes of the authority he broke his probation.

  • […] China confiscates Swedish student's passport for blog post. Look at you, China. It's really your week. Sven Englund posted an open letter to China's president Hu Jintao on his blog. He had planned to return to Sweden this month. But now he's stranded in China indefinitely. […]

  • […] China confiscates Swedish student’s passport for blog post. Look at you, China. It’s really your week. Sven Englund posted an open letter to China’s president Hu Jintao on his blog. He had planned to return to Sweden this month. But now he’s stranded in China indefinitely. […]

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  • Alvin Phee

    LMAO, talk about a dumbass.

    Alvin Phee, from Cali.

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