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China Threatens Prague for Canceling Sister-City Ties

Earlier this week, after the city of Prague announced plans to formally terminate its sister-city relationship with Beijing, the Chinese embassy on Wednesday (Oct. 9) sent the City Council a threatening message suggesting that the Czech capital reconsider.

Responding to China’s message, the Czech Pirate Party, the third-largest political party in the country and party of Prague’s pro-Taiwan Mayor Zdenek Hříb, released an official statement reaffirming the city’s decision and its opposition to Beijing’s “authoritarian regime.”

The Chinese embassy’s initial message called on the Prague City Council to “change its approach as soon as possible, to adapt to current developmental trends, and to return to a path that supports the development of bilateral relations. Otherwise, the city’s own interests will suffer.” The Pirate Party, speaking on behalf of Prague, refused to allow China’s gangster-like attitude to go unaddressed.

Beijing demands to respect the so-called one-China policy, which in practice means not talking about Taiwan or Tibet as if they were separate countries. And it definitely means not flying the Tibetan flag, something that Hříb thinks is completely appropriate.

Chinese companies own parts of numerous assets in the Czech Republic, including the football club Slavia Prague and the Smartwings airline, which itself owns CSA.

Speaking on a partisan television station earlier this week, Czech president Miloš Zeman said that China would reroute some air routes to Croatia that were supposed to come to Prague and that financing of Slavia Prague would dry up.

 

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