Last year saw a two-fold increase in applications for Czech citizenship according to newly released data from the interior ministry. In 2016, almost 4,000 applicants proved successful in this quest, which requires passing a language test, having a clean criminal record, and also proof of not being a social burden. Martin Rozumek is the head of the Organisation for Aid to Refugees. He explained that legislation in effect since 2014 was a major factor behind the increase:
The Czech Republic’s Vietnamese community is still largely closed in spite of integration efforts, according to a study by the Ethnological Academy of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. One reason for the around 100,000 strong community’s closed nature is the fact that it is largely economically self sufficient with many families running small grocery store, according to ethnologist Stanislav Broučka. Many Vietnamese are also first generation immigrants and changes can be expected when the second generation, born in the Czech Republic, start to predominate. The Vietnamese are the third biggest group of foreigners in the Czech Republic after Ukrainians and Slovaks.
Back in September we broadcast an interview with the award-winning blogger Do Thu Trang. She offers a witty and original take on many aspects of relations between Czechs and the country’s Vietnamese community, seen from the point of view of a second generation Vietnamese Czech. In the week’s Czech Books, we meet Trang again and take a closer look at her writing with David Vaughan.
Walking through the streets of Prague, you might run into a young man with Asian features. Out of curiosity, you might ask him where he comes from, and to your surprise, he answers: “I’m Czech.” The term ‘Banana kids’ refers to the second generation of Vietnamese immigrants, who are ‘yellow on the outside and white on the inside’. With its author Huyen Vi Tranová amongst the collage of voices, the following programme reflects not only on being a foreigner in one’s home country, but also on the inter-generational clash of values.
Why do Czech men want to date Vietnamese girls? What do Czechs hate about the Vietnamese? And what to expect at a Vietnamese wedding? This and many more questions are the subject of a blog called Asijatka, which offers sharp as well as light-hearted observations on the coexistence of the Czech and Vietnamese communities. Written by a young Vietnamese Do Thu Trang, the blog recently received an award for journalists under 33 years of age, as well as a nomination for the Magnesia Litera Award for Best blog.
An exhibition called Afghanistan: Rescued Treasures of Buddhism organized by the National Museum aims to present the war-torn country in a different light, to draw attention to its rich cultural history and point out the many influences that left their mark on Afghan culture and traditions. The exhibition focuses on the country’s pre-Islamic Buddhist period. Its chief organizer Lubomír Novák showed me around and began by explaining what makes the exhibition so special.
The number of foreigners living in the Czech Republic at the end of 2015 rose to just under 468,000, according to the Czech Statistical Office. That represents a rise of around 15,000 compared to the year earlier. Foreigners make up around 4.5 percent of the population living in the Czech Republic with numbers rising in the last two years. Almost four out of 10 foreigners live in Prague. The biggest single group of foreigners is made up of Ukrainians, around 23 percent, followed by Slovaks, around 20%, Vietnamese around 13 percent, Russians 8 percent, and Germans and Poles each having 4 percent of the total.
More than three quarters of the Vietnamese, three fifths of the Ukrainian and half the Russian nationals who live in the Czech Republic would like to acquire permanent residence in the country, according to a survey conducted by the Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs released on Wednesday. The foreigners cited security, health care and earnings among the major reasons why they want to settle in the country. They consider the lack of knowledge of the Czech language and their accent as well as the Czechs' reserved attitude to foreigners as the biggest barriers to their integration in the Czech society.
In this special programme on Czech Independence Day I am joined by noted historian Jan Rychlík, and we will also be hearing from Jan Hartl of the STEM polling agency. We will examine the influence of foreigners and minority groups in the Czech lands throughout history and try to gain a greater understanding of contemporary Czech attitudes in this regard.
A Brno court on Thursday turned down compensation claims of 50 million crowns each from the son and mother of a Vietnamese man who was brutally beaten by police and later died of his injuries. The court ruled that the 1.0 million crowns already received by each of them was adequate. Part of the claims for higher compensation were based on the Asian tradition that the dead man would have been expected to provide for his parents in old age. The 29 year old Vietnamese man was detained by police during a raid in January 2009 in which he was apparently suspected of being a drug dealer. He died in custody a few days later from injuries received. Three police officers were later found guilty and sentenced.