Czech-Chinese relations have been in the news a lot lately, but how have they really developed over the decades? And how should we view Chinese moves to develop a new high-tech form of totalitarianism involving facial recognition and “social credit”? I discussed those issues with Professor Olga Lomová, head of the Department of Sinology at Charles University’s Faculty of Arts. But I first asked the country’s leading sinologist what had led her to the field.
The Chinese Embassy in Prague has objected to Senate leader Jaroslav Kubera
(Civic Democrats) speaking at a Taiwanese celebration on Wednesday, where
he highlighted economic cooperation and was photographed with Taiwan
Economic and Cultural Office representatives.
Czech investigative daily Deník N reports that President Miloš Zeman has warned Kubera, who plans to visit Taiwan next year, that his actions may aggravate relations with China.
Kubera is quoted as saying his trip is not anti-China but rather pro-business, noting that Taiwan is the Czech Republic’s third largest Asian trading partner.
In April, then Trade and Industry Minister Marta Nováková (for ANO) was recalled over a diplomatic incident that highlighted China’s efforts to assert its influence: a Taiwan representative was forced to leave a ministry event at the request of the Chinese ambassador.
The Czech Republic’s top officials met to clear up the country’s stand on a number of a hot foreign policy issues on Thursday, voicing condemnation of the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria and rejecting President Zeman’s proposal for the Czech Republic to revoke its recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.
A simmering row between Prague and Beijing has finally come to a head. After the former announced a decision to terminate a sister city agreement with the Chinese capital, the country’s embassy said late on Wednesday night that it had abrogated the document itself. But can the dispute actually harm Prague?
Beijing has terminated its sister agreement with Prague and will suspend
all official contacts with the Czech capital, the Czech News Agency
reported on Thursday quoting a statement from Beijing authorities supplied
by the Chinese Embassy in the Czech Republic. The embassy goes on to say
that representatives of the Prague coalition had been intentionally
interfering in China's internal affairs and deliberately violated the
sister agreement with Beijing.
Earlier this week Prague authorities voted to terminate the city’s agreement with Beijing, after which the Chinese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Zhang Jianmin posted on Facebook that Prague’s own interests will suffer, triggering a reaction from the Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, who said that threats have no place in diplomacy.
The Prague municipal government may cancel a sister-city agreement with
Beijing, Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) on
The move stems from China’s refusal to negotiate deleting a clause saying the Czech capital recognises the “One China” policy, negating sovereignty claims by Taiwan and Tibet, Hřib reportedly said. Prague city councillors are due to vote on cancelling the agreement on Monday.
The Prague-Beijing agreement was approved in February 2016 by under then mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO). Since taking office, Mr Hřib has worked to delete section regarding the “One China” policy.
In response, Beijing has indefinitely postponed or outright cancelled scheduled tours by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and other Czech groups.
President Miloš Zeman has said he does not consider it wise of the Chinese
authorities to boycott Czech cultural events in China, but that he
understands their reason for doing so.
Speaking on a visit to Belgrade, the Czech head of state, who has made a big effort to further Czech-Chinese ties, said that the mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hrib, had “sown the wind, and the whole country was now reaping the whirlwind”.
Mr. Zeman said the Prague mayor was clearly under the impression that he could mould his own foreign policy rejecting the principle of “One China” at Prague City Hall, which was not the case.
In 2016 the then Czech government, which under the Czech Constitution is responsible for moulding the country’s foreign policy, set the ground for a more pragmatic policy line in relation to China signing an agreement on bilateral cooperation that pledged to respect the “One China policy.”
The private Czech train and bus operator Leo Express is set to deploy new trains, manufactured by the Chinese company CRRC, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday. The new Sirius train units should start operating next year. The total value of the investment, which includes the delivery of three units and an option for 30 more, exceeds five billion crowns.
Czech Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has brought out into the open a deepening feud between the mayor of Prague and Beijing, which has resulted in the cancellation of several cultural events involving Prague ensembles in China. In the sharpest rebuke yet, Minister Zaorálek told the Chinese ambassador to Prague, there would be no cultural exchange if Beijing continued with this practice.
China has cancelled the scheduled tour of another Czech music ensemble,
most likely due to an ongoing feud with Prague’s mayor, Czech Television
Mayor Zdenek Hřib (Pirate Party), a vocal supporter of Taiwan and Tibet, has pushed for the removal of a clause in a Prague-Beijing cooperation agreement requiring the Czech capital to respect the “one-China policy”.
In response, Beijing in July ‘indefinitely postponed’ an autumn tour of China by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.
Now, China has done the same with the chamber music ensemble Guarneri Trio Prague, led by Ivan Klánský, the dean of the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU).