Anna Kerstin Erica Lindstedt (born 6 April 1960) was the Swedish Ambassador to Beijing from 2016 to early 2019. She was recalled when it is believed she might have overstepped her authority, possibly making her guilty of a crime. Without consulting with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, she organized negotiations, unbeknownst to the Ministry, aimed at securing the release of detained Chinese-Swedish publisher Gui Minhai.
Concurrent with her post in China, Lindstedt served as Ambassador of Sweden to Mongolia. She also served as Ambassador of Sweden to Mexico (2006–2011) and Vietnam (2003–2006). Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she worked as a journalist and teacher.
Backdoor diplomacy controversy
In February 2019, Gui's daughter Angela made a blog post documenting a "very strange experience" involving Lindstedt. In it, she alleged that Lindstedt contacted her in mid-January and invited her to a meeting in Stockholm that she had set up with some Chinese businessmen who she thought could help secure her father's release.
Angela recounted in her blog that the meetings were held at a private lounge in a Stockholm hotel, where she was sequestered for days, and was even escorted to and from the bathroom. The men, who claimed to have "connections within the Chinese Communist Party", apparently used a mixture of inducements, manipulation and threats on her. She was told her that her father's release would be contingent on her stopping her campaign and avoiding media engagement. They offered her a Chinese visa as well as a job in the Chinese embassy. To Angela, Ambassador Lindstedt's presence and seemingly supportive stance suggested the talks were initiated by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She nevertheless felt uncomfortable with the meetings. When she later made inquiries of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, it said it was unaware of the events.
The Chinese Embassy in Stockholm denied any involvement; the Swedish Ministry said it was not aware of the events until after the meetings had taken place. It confirmed to the press that the ambassador had been recalled, and that an internal investigation into the incident was under way. On 9 December, Lindstedt was charged by Swedish prosecutors for "arbitrariness during negotiations with a foreign power", an unprecedented charge in modern Sweden, with a possible maximum prison sentence of 2 years.