Night out lands Swedish expat teen in Beijing jail

Noak gets the call that the case has been closed. Photo by Kristin Jonsson
Noak gets the call that the case has been closed. Photo by Kristin Jonsson

A young Swedish man has a cautionary tale for bar-going expats, and their parents alike. While out with friends in November 2013, a then-18-year-old Noak Jonsson was involved in a scuffle leaving a bar in Beijing’s university district. Words and blows were thrown; and before he knew it, despite claiming he hit no one, Jonsson was in a police car.

As relayed to the WSJ’s Expat Blog, Jonsson spent the next month in Beijing’s No. 1 Detention Center, on the eastern edge of the city. Released in December 2013, his freedom was still marred by the fact that Chinese authorities had confiscated his passport, disabling him from leaving the country for nearly a year while his case was examined and eventually dropped.

Read the full story here.


  1. My only question: how does something like this get reported in the first place? In some random expat blog like Beijinger or Shanghaiist, sure, but WSJ? Who contacted whom first? Is it because the kid’s folks are wealthy and part of a privileged elite that WSJ decided it was newsworthy? What about all the Nigerians and third-world expats in China who are constantly getting screwed by the Chinese legal system, where is their WSJ article? This case reminds me of that Australian girl Kalynda Davis who recently got busted for drug trafficking in China. Her story was immediately picked up by world-wide news agencies, and then she was suddenly released! Why? Because she’s white, blonde, beautiful and wealthy. If she had been Nigerian, it would have been an organ-harvesting feast.

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