A video released by China three weeks after Gui’s disappearance showed him purportedly confessing wrongdoing and blaming Sweden for “sensationalizing” his case and “instigating” law-breaking behavior.
Gui’s friend, dissident poet Bei Ling, said at the time that Gui’s confession was likely made under coercion.
Chinese criminal suspects often appear in videotaped “confessions” that rights groups say sometimes bear the hallmarks of official arm-twisting.
The Ningbo court’s decision to highlight Gui’s citizenship was “obviously politically motivated” and intended to stop Sweden from assisting him, Amnesty International researcher Patrick Poon told AFP.
Gui’s detention has put a strain on relations between Sweden and China in recent years, with Stockholm repeatedly calling for his release.
China called off two business delegation visits to Sweden after Culture Minister Amanda Lind defied a Chinese threat of “counter-measures” and presented a rights prize to Gui in November.
Sweden’s former envoy to China, Anna Lindstedt, is being investigated for allegedly overstepping her duties by arranging an unauthorized meeting between Gui’s daughter and Chinese businessmen in an effort to get Gui freed.
Yang Hengjun, a Chinese-born Australian writer known for his series of spy novels, has also been detained in China since January 2019 and was recently charged with spying.
He reportedly once worked in China’s foreign ministry in Hainan province — although this has been denied by Beijing.