The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, met Chinese President Xi Jinping at Prague’s Lichtenstein Palace on Tuesday afternoon. The two discussed the development of trade between their two states, mutual trade and investment and deepening cooperation in the fields of technology, tourism and health. The Chinese leader also met a number of other senior local politicians, hours after he and the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, signed a strategic partnership deal at Prague Castle.
President Miloš Zeman is more popular than at any time since his election in early 2013, suggests a new opinion poll conducted by the CVVM agency. Some 62 percent of the 1,079 respondents in the survey carried out this month said they “trusted” the head of state, three percentage points more than in a similar poll in February. Mr. Zeman’s first term in office is due to conclude at the beginning of 2018.
Around 500 people held a demonstration on Prague’s Kampa on Tuesday afternoon against closening relations between the Czech Republic and China. The gathering took place in view of the Lichtenstein Palace, where the Chinese president, Xi Jingping, was meeting senior Czech officials, including Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. As with similar protests on the first day of Mr. Xi’s visit on Monday, Chinese supporters of the president also appeared at the scene carrying large flags. The anti-China protesters later marched in the direction of Prague Castle.
A new chapel to be used by MPs has been opened at the lower house of the Czech Parliament. Representatives of various churches attended Tuesday’s opening ceremony at the chapel, which was designed by architect Josef Pleskot. A deputy chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, Jan Bartošek of the Christian Democrats, said there had been demand for such a prayer centre for some time. The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, said MPs could visit the chapel when reflecting on the justice of new legislation.
The Czech and Chinese presidents, Miloš Zeman and Xi Jinping, signed a strategic partnership treaty between the two states at Prague Castle on Tuesday. Ministers from both countries also signed a number of memoranda of understanding in areas including industry, transport, health and education. Earlier Mr. Xi – who is the first Chinese president to visit the Czech Republic – had been welcomed at Prague Castle with full military honours. He said the two countries should intensify practical cooperation and reinforce the connections between them. Mr. Zeman said Chinese investment in the Czech Republic this year would reach CZK 95 billion. The Czech head of state also emphasised the personal friendship between him and Mr. Xi, apologising humorously that unlike the latter’s hosts in the US or UK, he could not offer a White House or golden carriage.
A number of Czech non-governmental organisations opened an Information Centre for Democracy and Human Rights in China on Tuesday, the spokesperson for the Forum 2000 Foundation, Anna Vošalíková announced. The centre’s launch was timed to coincide with a state visit to the Czech Republic by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, Ms. Vošalíková said. She said there had been more negative than positive reaction to Mr. Xi’s visit and the NGOs wished to draw attention to human rights abuses in the world’s most populous state. Other groups involved in the new centre include Post Bellum, Amnesty International and the National Gallery.
Miroslav Kalousek and Karel Schwarzenberg, the leader and former leader of the opposition TOP 09 party, hung a Tibetan flag from the windows of the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday. The move came as the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, met with senior Czech officials in Prague and Mr. Schwarzenberg said it was appropriate to demonstrate against a dictator responsible for mass executions, a cult of personality and severe censorship. The former foreign minister said the protest was also targeted against Czech President Miloš Zeman’s servility toward Mr. Xi.
Xi Jinping is continuing a state visit to the Czech Republic, the first by a Chinese president. Mr. Xi was welcomed at Prague Castle on Tuesday by a 21-gun salute ahead of a meeting with the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, who hosted the Chinese leader at the Lány presidential retreat near Prague on Monday evening. Mr. Xi is also due to meet other senior Czech officials, including Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, at Malá Strana’s Lichtenstein Palace. Demonstrations calling for improved human rights in China will be held at the nearby Kampa and later in the day at the Prague Castle complex.
Paul McCartney will play his second ever concert in the Czech Republic at Prague’s O2 Arena on June 16 as part of his One on One world tour, promoters Live Nation announced on Tuesday. The former Beatle’s previous concert in Prague took place at a makeshift outdoor site in an old industrial part of the city in 2004. Tickets, which range in price from CZK 1,690 to CZK 4,000, go on general sale on April 1.
The Czech national soccer team are preparing for their final warm-up game before the European Championship in France. Pavel Vrba’s men are set to take on a Swedish team featuring world star Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Stockholm five days after a 1:0 home defeat to Scotland in another friendly. Tuesday night’s game is seen as a final chance for some players to prove they deserve to be in the squad for the Euros, which get underway in mid-June.
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