Sanya is the southernmost city on Hainan Island, and one of the four prefecture-level cities of Hainan Province, in Southeast China. The city is renowned for its tropical climate and has emerged as a popular tourist destination, also serving as the training site of the Chinese national beach volleyball team. The city has become known as China’s Florida, drawing a large number of retirees from Northeast China during winter.
The Sanya Celebration, an international tourism promotional event themed “Beautiful Sanya, Romantic Paradise” and organised by the city’s municipal government, has moved on to the next stop on its Northern European road trip. A five-person delegation traveling on behalf of the Sanya government, including Fu Junli, Honorary President of Sanya People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, gave a comprehensive presentation on Sanya and its tourism resources at the latest stop, Stockholm on September 29, 2017. Executives from Scandinavian travel agencies and other Sweden-based attendees were encouraged to choose Sanya for their next vacation or to explore business investment opportunities.
Stockholm was the last stop of the Sanya Celebration’s roadshow targeting Northern Europe. The event was held at Culture House Sweden, one of the largest cultural centres in Northern Europe as well as a popular venue for Stockholm’s political and business classes. The event included the showing of a tourism video, performances of the breath-taking ethnic dances of Sanya’s Li and Miao minorities, a nose flute and leaf-whistling performance, a virtual reality (VR) setup giving attendees an opportunity to get a close up view of what the seaside resort has to offer, an exhibition on local tours, an introduction to Sanya’s tourism resources and the city’s strong portfolio of tourism products, as well as an interactive question and answer session, enabling attendees to gain a deeper understanding of Sanya’s reputation for hospitality and the unique aspects of the seaside resort’s tropical tourism resources.
China and Sweden have both witnessed a steady year-by-year increase in the number of visitor arrivals from the other, with the number of visitors in both directions totaling approximately 200,000 in 2016. Sanya is China’s only tropical travel destination with tourism facilities that meet international standards coupled with a unique ecological environment, while Stockholm is Sweden’s financial hub and the birthplace of Alfred Bernhard Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize award. Both are popular travel destinations for very different reasons, yet, the two cities complement each other in tourism resources. Mutual visits and exchanges are instrumental in enhancing the friendship and in yielding win-win results for both sides.
In Sweden, as in many other countries throughout Europe, the repression from which many refugees are fleeing, instead seems to be following them there. In immigrant-settled areas, the self-appointed morality police gather outside assembly rooms to prevent young people from entering if they try to organize parties with music. Islamist organizations in Sweden have strengthened their position through support from Saudi Arabia and Sweden’s government agencies, media, political parties, and so it goes.
Most Muslims in Sweden have become fundamentalists. The Al-Azhar Islamic charter school in Stockholm separates boys and girls on the school bus. The girls enter through the back door, while the boys enter through the door at the front. The history of U.S. civil rights is not mentioned in Al-Azhar’s history class.
It is impossible now to say that Sweden is an ultra-liberal country while there are areas in Sweden where women with short skirts and LGBT citizens are harassed because of their clothes and sexual orientation. Intolerance has simply become part of today’s multicultural Sweden.
The lesson to be learned from these contrasts is to see through the Swedish politicians who try to portray Sweden as a liberal and tolerant paradise. Experience from the immigrant suburbs of Sweden’s cities shows that a large part of Sweden’s population is not part of the feminist and liberal Sweden. Liberals are harassed by Jihadis every day because in their communities, there is a lack of tolerance.
The problem is that those who govern Sweden do not originate from, or have any deeper knowledge about, the immigrant suburbs where people cannot live as free citizens, and clearly have no interest in these suburbs. The LGBT movement and the feminist movement prefer to silence those who protest Islamic oppression in Sweden’s immigrant suburbs. They want to silence it to the extent that even Muslims are portrayed as Islamophobes.
Unfortunately, immigrants in the suburbs will live under this Jihadi plague until Jihadis grow so strong that they become a threat to the liberal values of the elites. When Jihadis begin to disturb the liberal elites and their cultural sphere, the liberals in Sweden may see them as a problem. Ironically, for these liberal elites, who not long ago wanted to save the world through a liberal refugee policy, their primary motivation now seems simply to be self-interest.
The security situation in Sweden is now so critical that the national police chief, Dan Eliasson, has asked the public for help; the police are unable to solve the problems on their own. In June, the Swedish police released a new report, “Utsatta områden 2017”, (“Vulnerable Areas 2017”, commonly known as “no-go zones” or lawless areas). It shows that the 55 no-go zones of a year ago are now 61.
In September 2016, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Minister of Interior Anders Ygeman refused to see the warnings: in 2015, only 14% of all crimes in Sweden were solved, and in 2016, 80% of police officers were allegedly considering quitting the force. Both ministers refused to call it a crisis. According to Anders Ygeman:
“… we are in a very difficult position, but crisis is something completely different. …we are in a very strained position and this is because we have done the biggest reorganization since the 1960s, while we have these very difficult external factors with the highest refugee reception since the Second World War. We have border controls for the first time in 20 years, and an increased terrorist threat”.
A year later the Swedish national police chief is calling the situation “acute”.
Sweden increasingly resembles a failed state: In the 61 “no-go zones”, there are 200 criminal networks with an estimated 5,000 criminals who are members. Twenty-three of those no-go zones are especially critical: children as young as 10 years old are involved in serious crimes there, including weapons and drugs, and are literally being trained to become hardened criminals.
The trouble, however, extends beyond organized crime. In June, Swedish police in the city of Trollhättan, during a riot in the Kronogården suburb, were attacked by approximately a hundred masked migrant youths, mainly Somalis. The rioting continued for two nights.
Violent riots, however, are just part of Sweden’s security problems. In 2010, according to the government, there were “only” 200 radical Islamists in Sweden. In June, the head of the Swedish Security Service (Säpo), Anders Thornberg, told the Swedish media that the country is experiencing a “historical” challenge in having to deal with thousands of “radical Islamists in Sweden”. The jihadists and jihadist supporters are mainly concentrated in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Örebro, according to Säpo. “This is the ‘new normal’ … It is an historic challenge that extremist circles are growing,” Thornberg said.
The Swedish establishment has only itself to blame for it.
Thornberg said that Säpo now receives around 6,000 intelligence tips a month concerning terrorism and extremism, compared to an average of 2,000 a month in 2012.
Some of the reasons for the increase, according to terror expert Magnus Ranstorp of the Swedish Defense University, is due to segregation in Sweden’s no-go zones:
“… it has been easy for extremists to recruit undisturbed in those areas. …the prevention measures have been pretty tame… if you compare Denmark and Sweden, Denmark is at university level and Sweden at kindergarten level”.
Asked what the increase in people supporting extremist ideologies indicated about Sweden’s work to combat radicalism, Interior Minister Anders Ygeman told the Swedish news outlet TT:
“I think it says little. This is a development we have seen in a number of countries in Europe. On the other hand, it shows that it was right to take those measures we have. A permanent centre against violent extremism, that we have increased the budget to work against violent extremism, that we have increased the security police’s budget for three years.”
There may be even more jihadists than Säpo thinks. In 2015, at the height of the migrant crisis, when Sweden received over 160,000 migrants, 14,000 of them who were told that they were going to be deported disappeared inside Sweden without a trace. As late as April 2017, Sweden was still looking for 10,000 of them. Sweden, however, has only 200 border police staff at its disposal to look for them. One “disappeared migrant” was Rakhmat Akilov, from Uzbekistan. He drove a truck into a department store in Stockholm, killing four people and wounding many others. He later said he did it for the Islamic State (ISIS).
Meanwhile, Sweden continues to receive returning ISIS fighters from Syria, a courtesy that hardly improves the security situation. Sweden, so far, has received 150 returning ISIS fighters. There are still 112 who remain abroad — considered the most hardcore of all — and Sweden expects many of those to return as well. Astonishingly, the Swedish government has given several of the ISIS returnees protected identities to prevent local Swedes from finding out who they are. Two Swedish ISIS fighters who returned to Europe, Osama Krayem and Mohamed Belkaid, went on to help commit the terror attacks at Brussels airport and the Maelbeek metro station in the center of Brussels, on March 22, 2016. Thirty-one people were killed; 300 were wounded.
Swedish news outlets have reported that the Swedish towns that receive the returnees do not even know they are returning ISIS fighters. One coordinator of the work against violent Islamist extremism in Stockholm, Christina Kiernan, says that “…at the moment there is no control over those returning from ISIS-controlled areas in the Middle East”.
Kiernan explains that there are rules that prevent the passing of information about returning jihadists from Säpo to the local municipalities, so that the people who are in charge in the municipal authorities, including the police, have no information about who and how many returned ISIS fighters there are in their area. It is therefore impossible to monitor them — and this at a time when Säpo estimates the number of violent Islamist extremists in Sweden in the thousands.
Even after all this, the Swedish state, in true Orwellian style, fights those Swedish citizens who point out the obvious problems that migrants are causing. When police officer Peter Springare said in February that migrants were committing a disproportionate amount of crime in the suburbs, he was investigated for inciting “racial hatred”.
Currently, a 70-year-old Swedish pensioner is being prosecuted for “hate speech”, for writing on Facebook that migrants “set fire to cars, and urinate and defecate on the streets”.
With thousands of Jihadis all over Sweden, what could be more important than prosecuting a Swedish pensioner for writing on Facebook?
Ms. Fu gave attendees a presentation on how Sanya developed into a tropical coastal resort with unique characteristics, and, with its internationally-renowned services. She also encouraged Swedish attendees to choose Sanya for their next vacation or to explore business investment opportunities.
A promotional meeting was held during the Celebration, with Pu Zhengdong, Consul of Culture at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Sweden, Kristina Eriksson, a member of the Eskilstuna City Council, Lydia Liu, a member of the Nacka City Council, Niko Kosmidis, Member Board of Directors of Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce in Sweden, Wang Yong’an, vice president of the Chinese Confederation of Industry and Commerce in Sweden (CCICIS), as well as executives from over one hundred travel agencies and tourism service providers across Sweden and other Scandinavian countries taking part in. The meeting highlighted Sanya’s strong line-up of tourism offerings, including facilities specializing in MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) events, activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family, traditional Chinese physiotherapy, village tours, as well as accommodations designed for destination weddings and honeymoons. Sanya has also taken advantage of its long list of resources to, over the years, continuously roll out a variety of travel packages and services for travellers, leading to rapid growth in the local tourism market. Currently, Sanya has scheduled flight services to and from 20 international destinations. Travellers from 26 countries, including Sweden, now enjoy visa-free access to Sanya, further facilitating the visit to Sanya for Swedish travellers. A wide range of tourism resources, the convenience of visa-free access and the personalized tourism products visibly stimulated the interest of the Scandinavian travel firms that attended the event. In some one-on-one exchanges that took place, several of the firms expressed their willingness to take the discussion to the next step.
Mr. Kosmidis said at the promotional meeting that the period from November to March next year is ice cold in Sweden and most locals choose tropical islands for vacation destinations. With sunny climate complemented by tropical blue waves lapping sandy white beaches and unique folk cultures, Sanya is an ideal destination for Swedish visitors. As the Swedish attendees gained a better understanding of the exotic thrills that were on offer, many expressed a ready willingness to include Sanya in their upcoming travel or vacation plans.
Mr. Wang, who has been resident in Sweden for years, said: “Decades of living and working experience in Sanya makes me emotionally attached to Sanya, a city with a variety of tourism resources. The city has sped up its development pace and efforts in meeting international standards. For locals in Sweden and other Northern European countries, Sanya is not only an ideal vacation destination, but also a potential market with great business investment opportunities. “
The Sanya Celebration has already made stops in Bangkok, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jakarta, Indonesia, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Moscow, Russia, London, England, Frankfurt, Germany and Copenhagen, Denmark and has now moved onto Stockholm, Sweden. Through this series of promotional events, Sanya has enhanced mutual exchanges with the cities visited in terms of tourism and cultural resources, increased the awareness and heightened the reputation of Sanya in international tourism markets, and attracted more visitors to the Chinese city. In addition to the various steps taken by the city to bring its tourism resources up to international standards across the board, Sanya has also successfully executed on its series of external promotion campaigns, heightening awareness of the city as a viable tourism destination. The coordinated efforts put the city on track to become a new and preferred destination for world travellers.