Ongoing tensions between Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib and China over Beijing’s “one China” principle could lead to the mayor choosing Taipei as the venue for a performance by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, local media reported on Monday.
The spat started in March, when Beijing tried to bully Hrib into expelling a Taiwanese official from a business meeting in Prague.
Hrib has studied Mandarin in Taiwan, met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and welcomes Tibetan dissidents to his city, Taiwan News has reported.
Hrib is part of a resistance to China that is likely to spread as leaders become increasingly aware of the threat it poses to democracy worldwide.
On Dec. 23 last year, the BBC reported that operations by Chinese and Russian spies in the Czech Republic posed an “extremely high risk” to citizens of EU and NATO nations, as they used Czech entities to undermine EU unity, engaged in intelligence activity aimed at Czech government agencies, and gleaned economic and technological secrets.
China on Thursday canceled planned performances by the orchestra, saying that the shows would proceed only if its members condemned the mayor over his stance on the “one China” principle. The members refused to betray Hrib.
The orchestra’s refusal to compromise or give in to Chinese authoritarianism must not go unnoticed, but should be celebrated and emulated by defenders of freedom and democracy.
World leaders must tell Beijing that while countries are happy to engage with China culturally and economically, they are resolutely opposed to following Beijing’s orders. The people of the free world are not citizens of the People’s Republic of China.
This idea seems to be lost on Beijing, which for the past several years has been pressing governments to cancel events involving Taiwanese or those who support the nation’s de facto independence.
In February last year, a Hakka cultural event planned at a hotel in the capital of Mauritius, Port Louis, was canceled, with the hotel citing pressure from the Chinese embassy. The event was to be a celebration of Hakka cuisine, with Hakka chefs Jerry Chiu (邱寶郎), Wen Kuo-chi (溫國智) and Chiu Yu-han (邱聿涵) teaching hotel chefs how to prepare signature Hakka dishes. Taiwanese band ZiXuan & Slow Train was also to perform.
In 2017, a Taiwanese cultural event at the University of Salamanca in Spain was canceled only four days before it was to be held, with the university citing pressure from the Chinese embassy. The non-political event was to include presentations of health practices and martial arts, mainstream Taiwanese music and dance performances, and performances by Aboriginal communities.
However, pockets of resistance are emerging. In February, New Zealand hosted 10 Amis teenagers as part of its Austronesian Peoples’ Bilateral Visit Program. The program — designed to help trace the common ancestry of Taiwan’s Aborigines and Maori — proceeded, despite stern protests from China.
Canadians are also growing weary of China after the cancelation of C$2.7 billion (US$2 billion) of agricultural trade and the apparently arbitrary detention of several Canadians in retaliation against the planned extradition to the US of Huawei Technologies Co chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟).
“China’s remaking of the global rules is making the world safe for autocracy, tacitly demanding that Canada passively surrender our values to an authoritarian state,” an Ottawa Citizen op-ed said on Wednesday.
China might press companies and states, but it would be powerless against a united stand. It is imperative that world leaders unite to protect the shared values of freedom and democracy.
An outrageous dismissal of the exemplary Taiwanese fight against COVID-19 has been perpetrated by the EU. There is no excuse. I presume that everyone who reads the Taipei Times knows that the EU has excluded Taiwan from its so-called “safe list,” which permits citizens unhindered travel to and from the countries of the EU. As the EU does not feel that it needs to explain the character of this exclusive list, perhaps we should examine it ourselves in some detail. There are 14 nations on the list that have been chosen as safe countries of origin and safe countries of destination for
Filmmakers in Taiwan used to struggle when it came to telling a story that could resonate internationally. Things started to change when the 2017 drama series The Teenage Psychic (通靈少女), a collaboration between HBO Asia and Taiwanese Public Television Service (PTS), became a huge hit not just locally, but also internationally. The coming-of-age story was adapted from the 2013 PTS-produced short film The Busy Young Psychic (神算). Entirely filmed in Taiwan, the Mandarin-language series even made it on HBO’s streaming platforms in the US. It is proof that a well-told Taiwanese story can absolutely win the hearts and minds of hard-to-please
Drugged with sedatives, handcuffed and wearing a bright orange prison tunic, British fraud investigator and former journalist Peter Humphrey was escorted by warders into an interrogation room filled with reporters, locked inside a steel cage and fastened to a metal “tiger chair.” Humphrey recalls: “I was completely surrounded by officers, dazed, manacled and with cameras pointing at me through the bars. I was fighting for my life like a caged animal. It was horrifying.” Footage from the interrogation was later artfully edited to give the appearance of a confession and broadcast on Chinese state media. While this might sound like an
The US House of Representatives on July 1 passed by unanimous consent a bipartisan bill that would penalize Chinese officials who implement Beijing’s new national security legislation in Hong Kong, as well as banks that do business with them. The following day, the US Senate unanimously passed the bill, which was later sent to the White House, where it awaits US President Donald Trump’s signature. The bill does not spell out what the sanctions would look like and Trump has yet to sign it into law, but Reuters on Thursday last week reported that five major Chinese state lenders are considering