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 Chinese Embassy in Prague says the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
itself chose to cancel a tour of China. Officials issued a statement to
that effect after the Czech minister of culture, Lubomír Zaorálek,
protested China’s blocking of the tour during a meeting with Ambassador
Zhang Jianmin on Monday.
A spokesperson for Czech Radio, which operates the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, described the Chinese Embassy’s assertion as nonsense, explaining that the ensemble had failed to receive the necessary permits to tour China.
The Chinese authorities have blocked a number of planned tours by Czech classical music ensembles. This follows a move by Prague’s mayor to excise an article recognising the One China policy from the city’s partnership agreement with Beijing.
Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek (Social Democrats) objected to the
recent cancellation of concerts by Czech ensembles in China during a
meeting with the country’s ambassador in Prague, the news agency ČTK
Beijing has ‘indefinitely postponed’ or cancelled scheduled tours by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and other groups, likely due to an ongoing feud with Prague Mayor Zdenek Hřib (Pirates), a vocal supporter of Taiwan and Tibet.
Minister Zaorálek reportedly told the Chinese ambassador that the cancellations have damaged bilateral relations.
Since taking office a year ago, Hřib has pushed for the removal of a clause in a Prague-Beijing cooperation agreement requiring the Czech capital to respect the communist country’s “one-China policy”.
National Theatre artists, mainly opera singers, are threatening to strike if the newly appointed culture minister rejects their demand to open selection process to replace their current bosses and increase “transparency” at the institution. With some artistic licence – and apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber – one could call this Act II of ‘The Phantom of the Czech Opera’.
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).
The newly appointed culture minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, has cancelled the
selection procedure for the director of the National Gallery in Prague,
whom his predecessor in office Antonín Staněk sacked in in mid-April
citing poor management.
Minister Zaorálek told reporters the conditions cited in the open competition for the post had been prepared in haste and were inadequate. He said the selection process did not place emphasis on the gallery’s future direction nor did it open the position to contestants from abroad.
Minister Zaorálek said he likewise planned to review another of his predecessor’s last minute decisions, namely that the Hadí lázně spa in Teplice be struck off the list of Czech cultural monuments.
President Miloš Zeman on Tuesday appointed Lubomír Zaorálek to the post of culture minister, ending a drawn-out dispute over who should manage the arts portfolio. The seasoned Social Democrat, who has previously served as the country’s foreign minister, stressed the need to recognize the huge potential of the arts sphere and said he was not afraid to cross swords with the president in fulfilling his goals.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met with the Social Democratic Party’s
nominee for culture minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, on Thursday evening to
discuss his priorities in office.
The prime minister said later he had no problem with the nomination and had sent an official request to the president regarding his appointment.
President Zeman earlier indicated he also approved of the choice and his spokesman said the appointment would take place on Tuesday.
The nomination has brought to an end a drawn-out crisis which threatened to topple the coalition government.
After months of deadlock surrounding the president’s unwillingness to name the Social Democrat nominee for culture minister, party chairman Jan Hamáček announced their second choice for the office is Lubomír Zaorálek. The proposal has since been welcomed by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and by President Miloš Zeman, who has said he will name Mr. Zaorálek culture minister on Tuesday.
President Miloš Zeman will meet the new Social Democrat nominee for the
position of culture minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, on Monday afternoon. The
president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček tweeted the information on
Wedensday evening, specifying that the meeting will také place in the head
of state’s Lány residency.
Both President Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš have said that they accept Mr. Zaorálek as the new minister of culture. According to an earlier Castle statement, the president will name the Social Democrat nominee after their meeting.