BEIJING - Sweden has protested China' handling of several Swedes who were among 35 foreigners, including six Americans, expelled for demonstrating against the government' crushing of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.
The protest handed to China' Foreign Ministry contended that the detained Swedes were not permitted to meet quickly enough with Swedish diplomats under international regulations, Rigmor Petterson, a consular official for the Swedish Embassy in Beijing said yesterday.
Petterson said the embassy also objected to what it called the harsh physical treatment of those detained, though police used far less violence in removing the foreign protesters than they typically use to arrest Chinese Falun Gong followers.
Martin Larsson, 29, described being manhandled by Chinese police when he refused to let them take his picture because of concerns that it might be used in Chinese propaganda against the movement.
'' guy grabbed my left arm and another my right arm,'' Larsson said yesterday after returning to Sweden. '' tried to pull my hair, but they still couldn' take the picture.''
Maria Sahlin, 35, said she saw an Australian woman passed out in the bus and witnessed police pulling other women by the hair.
'' heard them grabbing other people, but I kept my eyes closed,'' she said. '' grabbed my arm, and the police pulled me into a bus.''
One protester had bruises on her arms, Petterson said. Canadian and Australian protesters also said they were kicked and punched by police, and one reported being held in poorly ventilated underground cells and being unable to use the bathroom in private.
The demonstrators said they had been banned from reentering China for five years.
The protesters were detained Tuesday after sitting in Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing, [meditating] and unveiling a pro-Falun Gong banner.
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