The Czech Republic, located in central Europe and bordering the countries of Germany, Austria, and Poland, has reported 23 deaths from the CCP coronavirus as of this writing, which is one of the lowest rates of death in Europe
It’s interesting to note that on October 7, 2019, Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and the seat of the government, decided to terminate its sister city pact with Beijing.
On December 24 of the same year, Prague and Taiwan finalized an agreement of cooperation in some important areas, such as economics, business, science, technology, as well as cultural and other fields.
This breakup with Beijing, and Prague’s pursuant relationship with Taiwan, may well be the key to the Czech Republic’s escape from today’s coronavirus disaster.
In contrast, countries such as Italy and Iran, both of whom have strong political and financial ties to the communist-ruled Chinese government, have some of the highest numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths outside of China.
These countries also have a large number of Chinese citizens working on joint projects within their borders, and these workers travel back and forth from China.
Zdeněk Hřib, who was elected the Mayor of Prague on November 15, 2018, by the Prague City Assembly, announced immediately after taking office that he would repeal some of the important provisions in Prague’s sister city agreement with Beijing.
He not only hung up the “snow lion flag” in support of Tibet, which was the flag adopted by the 13th Dalai Lama in 1916, but he also took the initiative to meet with Lobsang Sangay, an exiled Tibetan government leader.
Beijing reacted to Prague’s move by canceling all previously planned concerts of the Prague music ensembles and even threatened to restrict Chinese tourists from traveling to the Czech Republic.
Hřib was unmoved. He went on to visit Taiwan in March 2019, where he met with President Tsai Ing-wen, and the two have maintained a strong relationship.
In an article in The Washington Post, Hfib said that he wanted to fulfill the promise he’d made to the voters, which was a return to the tradition of advocating for democracy and human rights.
He also declared that “the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is unreliable and full of resentment.” The CCP wanted Prague to recognize its One China policy and have all European cities accept the CCP’s dictatorship.
Hřib reminded all European countries that the economic benefits promised by the CCP have political motives, and when the CCP is unable to achieve its political goals, it will turn its back on them. For example, the CCP promised to invest more than 10 billion euros in the Czech Republic over the next five years, and in return, the Czech Republic had to adjust its foreign policy and open its market.
However, the promised investment from China is likened to the Chinese proverb “all talk, but no action,” meaning that the promises made by the CCP are only words in the air, and are not likely to come to fruition.
The New York Times described Hřib‘s election as a reflection of the anti-Communist sentiment of the Czech people, and their dissatisfaction with current pro-communist President Miloš Zeman. It can be said that the election of Hřib in 2018 has opened a new chapter in the Czech-Chinese relationship.
Translated by Chua BC and edited by T Denning