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  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

Czech Minister Slams China over Orchestra Tour Cancellations

PRAGUE – The Czech Republic has criticized Chinese authorities for the cancellation of several Czech orchestra tours which has been attributed to Prague City Council’s refusal to recognize Tibet and Taiwan as part of China.

The central European country’s culture minister shared an interview he gave on the CT24 radio station on Twitter Thursday where he said he had slammed the door on Chinese ambassador Zhang Jianmin over the matter.

“He doesn’t understand his diplomatic function, and he does politics here.

“As he kept talking nonsense I slammed the door on him.

“There is no point in talking to the person,” Lubomir Zaoralek said on live radio about the disagreement he had had earlier this week.

The dispute is over the cancellation or indefinite postponement so far this year of four orchestra tours of China, including the Prague Philharmonic and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Although the Czech Government has not confirmed whether the cancellations are concerning Prague City Council’s stance to not recognize Tibet nor Taiwan as part of China, Zaoralek said on Monday that Beijing’s attitude was “inadmissible and wrecks all that has been achieved in Czech-Chinese relations.”

“I told the ambassador that, as things are going, I hope to hear soon that the works of (Czech composers) Bedrich Smetana and Antonin Dvorak will be vetoed in China because they lived for too long in Prague,” the minister said.

The Chinese Embassy said that there was no political motivation behind the tour cancellations and that, in the case of the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra, it was the group itself that requested to delay the trip.

Jakub Cizek, director of Symphony orchestra, told Efe that China had not provided the necessary permits and that the agency organizing the tour recommended postponing it at least until next year.

Czech media have speculated the conflict could be due to the fact that the Prague City Council, lead by the liberal Pirate Party wants to revise the twinning agreement with Beijing and to stop recognizing the One China Principle.

The One China policy maintains that there is only one sovereign country under that name which is officially the Republic of China.

According to China, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China.

The Pirate Party, which leads the municipal government coalition, wants to suppress the statement on Czech recognition of China’s territorial integrity, including Tibet, a region that was occupied by China in the early 1950s.

 

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