The head of the Tibetan government in exile Lobsang Sangay has warned that
either the democratic world will change China or China will change the
The Tibetan prime minister in exile said at the Forum 2,000 conference in Prague that China had no interest in introducing democratic reforms and used business interests to make inroads into Europe and win support from some of its leaders.
He said US President Donald Trump recognized this and praised his tough line against the Chinese leadership.
Lobsang Sangay said China presented a worse threat to Europe than Russia.
Europe now faces a crucial decision –either to stand with the US and try to reform China or see China slowly gain control of parts of Europe, the Tibetan leader in exile concluded.
Prague’s Municipal Court has ruled that a police intervention in which
officers removed a Tibetan and a Taiwanese flag from two men during a visit
to the city by the Chinese president was unlawful. The two had taken the
case against the police force. In a binding verdict, the court ruled on
Tuesday that the police had only been justified in checking the identity
documents of the plaintiffs. An internal police review had previously
decided that the confiscation of the flags had been legitimate.
The incident took place during a visit to Prague early last year by Xi Jinping. There were clashes between protestors and supporters of the Chinese president while he was in the city and Chinese flags were erected on flagpoles on the road to the airport and near Prague Castle.
The Czech NGO Brontosauri v Himalájích has been helping the village of Mulbekh, in Little Tibet, for ten years now. Attention is focused around the local primary school which has grown from strength to strength. Czech volunteers are engaged in a wide variety of activities, the latest project being to teach the children of Mulbekh to play hockey. I spoke to Jiří Sázel from the NGO about how he has helped the children of Mulbekh and what he has gained in return.
The Supreme State Attorney, Pavel Zeman, has challenged earlier court rulings which called for criminal proceedings to be discontinued against two Chinese nationals who grabbed Tibetan flags and threw them into the Vltava river during protests during the Prague visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping early last year. Two Prague courts earlier said that the criminal cases be dropped because of the low material value of the flags. Zeman though has challenged those decisions, arguing that it is not the cost of the flags that is the main issue but the intentions of the defendants in their alleged actions against legitimate protesters. The state visit was marked by a series of clashes with heavy handed Czech police action against Chinese policy and human rights protesters also coming under fire.
Over 700 town halls and hundreds of schools and institutions around the Czech Republic have joined the Flag for Tibet initiative expressing support for Tibetan independence. The Flag for Tibet initiative traditionally takes place on March 10th marking the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising in Lhasa which was brutally suppressed by the Chinese regime. The event is traditionally accompanied by lectures, film screenings and exhibitions documenting Tibetan history and culture.
China’s ambassador to Prague was called on Thursday the circumstances surrounding Beijing’s last minute ban on agriculture minister Marian Jurečka heading a delegation to the country. The ambassador met with deputy foreign affairs minister Martin Tlapa where the subject was raised. The meeting had been scheduled previously. Christian Democrat Jurečka has been an outspoken backer of party colleague and culture minister Daniel Herman in a recent row over the circumstances of his meeting with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. The Czech agriculture delegation was part of an agreed programme aimed at cutting China’s massive trade surplus with the Czech Republic. Deputy minister Tlapa said after the meeting that the ambassador could not give reasons for the ban and apparently did not know them. Attempts will be made to fix future dates for Jurečka's visit.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, wants the government to discuss on Wednesday an agreement he says the cabinet made in 2014 not to meet officially with the Dalai Lama. The arts minister, Daniel Herman, recently received the Tibetan spiritual leader in Prague, sparking a row between the two ministers. Referring to that meeting, Mr. Zaorálek said on Tuesday that people would also be annoyed if somebody had met the Sudeten German leader Konrad Henlein while there was a legitimate Czechoslovak government in the interwar period. He later apologised for the Henlein reference.
Former ministers Michael Kocáb and Jan Kalvoda have led a call on Czech deputies and senators to examine whether President Miloš Zeman has committed gross violation of the constitution. The demand comes after Mr. Zeman, the prime minister and the chairmen of both houses of Parliament issued a declaration assuring China of continued positive relations between the two states. Mr. Kocáb and Mr. Kalvoda, who are part of a group called Kroměříž Challenge, said Mr. Zeman had not been empowered to make such a statement and that doing so contravened the principle of separation of powers. The declaration to Beijing followed a meeting between a government minister and the Dalai Lama that went against official Czech policy.
The scandal surrounding a recent visit to Prague by the Dalai Lama has turned the spotlight on Czech foreign policy and the strings attached to the country’s strategic partnership with China. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek on Sunday accused the culture minister of having breached a Gentleman's Agreement with China that Czech cabinet ministers would refrain from official contacts with the Dalai Lama.
Culture Minister Daniel Herman has denied having made any commitment to refrain from official contacts with the Dalai Lama. In a statement for Czech Television the culture minister rejected a claim by Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek that he had violated the terms of an unwritten agreement reached in the cabinet which opened the way for a strategic partnership with China. Mr. Zaorálek said the violation of the terms of the deal had led the country’s senior officials to sign a declaration assuring China that the Czech Republic fully respected the country’s territorial integrity and saying that the Tibetan spiritual leader’s presence in the Czech Republic did not signal a change in the country’s foreign policy in relations with China. Mr. Herman said he had never made such a commitment since it would go against his conscience.