The mouse that roared: Local candidate in Copenhagen takes on China!

Ten posters displaying Thomas Rohden’s support for Tibet are quickly removed following their erection outside the embassy

There’s David and Goliath, the classic 1959 film ‘The Mouse that Roared’, James Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson and Foinavon, the plucky British horse that won the world’s toughest race after every other rider was unseated at the 23rd fence.

And now you can add Thomas Rohden, a Radikale local election candidate barely out of nappies, to the list.

This past week, he has been taking on China!

Facebook post becomes story
Rohden passionately believes that the Capital Region should cut ties with China while it continues to occupy Tibet, and over the weekend of October 23-24 he hung up ten local election posters displaying his support … outside the Chinese Embassy on Øregårds Allé in Hellerup.

He then publicised the fact on Facebook and got 425 likes – hardly a landslide in social media terms.

However, instead of accepting the democratic right of the prospective politician and likelihood the ‘story’ would quickly disappear – experience tells us it takes two to tango – the posters were quickly ripped down.

Story becomes international incident
And then it got worse: the embassy issued a statement. Suddenly the ears of media all over Denmark were tingling. Thomas Rohden was about to become a minor celebrity.

“We express our strong indignation at this deliberate provocation on Anti-China Posters in Front of the Embassy,” it stated.

“We firmly oppose any attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs and to undermine its sovereignty and territorial integrity under the pretext of election campaign or the so-called ‘freedom of speech’. Tibet is an inalienable part of China, and any attempt to separate it from China is bound to fail.”

Incident becomes police matter
But Rohden knows his rights. “Today I have reported the Chinese embassy for theft,” he said. 

“It is very possible that in China you can just tear down unwanted political messages, but here in Denmark, the constitution guarantees the freedom to express itself. There are rules that also the Chinese Embassy must comply with and respect.”

Rohden then returned with new posters: “I spent the afternoon putting up new posters in front of the Chinese Embassy. It happened with a great company of journalists who I tried to explain why these posters are necessary.”

Foreign minister must have embassy on speed-dial by now
The removal of the posters has even drawn comment from the foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, who said he found the action “worrying”.

The police are considering an investigation, and Kofod will wait to see their conclusion before pursuing further action.

Rohden is unequivocal about the action he would like to see: a cessation of all ties with China while they continue to occupy Tibet!

“The message that the Capital Region stop its co-operation with China and terminate its co-operation agreement with Jiangsu Province, of course, still needs to go out,” he said.