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.
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday last week announced it would impose sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a vast paramilitary organization that is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has been linked to human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions follow US travel bans against other Xinjiang officials and the passage of the US Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorizes targeted sanctions against mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials, in response to Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on the territory. The sanctions against the corps would be implemented