World News

Swedish court convicts man of spying on Tibetans for China

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A Swedish court on Friday convicted a man of spying on Tibetan refugees and passing the information to an agent working for the Chinese security services.

The court said that the convicted man had on several occasions traveled to Poland to meet a Chinese intelligence officer and that these meetings had been part of a comprehensive operation to spy on Tibetans living in Sweden.

“Even if the information that the man gathered can seem trivial, it could have caused considerable damage to Tibetans both in Sweden and abroad,” the judge said in a statement.

The court sentenced the man, who has a Tibetan mother, to one year and ten months in prison. The partly redacted court document did not give the man’s citizenship or name but said he came to Sweden as a refugee via Nepal.

He had been suspected of gathering information about exiles’ housing, family situation, political activities and meetings.

The Chinese Embassy in Stockholm could not immediately be reached for comment by telephone or email.

Chinese forces entered Tibet in 1950 and took control in what the government terms a “peaceful liberation”.

International human rights groups and exiles routinely condemn what they call China’s oppressive rule. They say pervasive surveillance and displays of military force are being used to intimidate and quell dissent.

China rejects the accusations.

There are around 140 Tibetans living in Sweden, according to the Tibetan Community in Sweden.

Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg