Daily news summary
Chinese ambassador tells Prague to change approach or own interests will suffer
China’s ambassador to the Czech Republic has called on the Prague authorities to change their approach after they decided to terminate a sister city agreement with Beijing. Otherwise, Ambassador Zhang Jianmin said on Facebook, Prague’s own interests will suffer.
Prague City Hall took the decision to abrogate the twin towns agreement after China refused to remove an article from the document stating that Prague recognises the One China policy.
China has in the recent past blocked music ensembles linked to Prague from touring the country.
Foreign minister condemns China’s reaction to City Hall’s revocation of Prague-Beijing agreement
The Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has criticized the Chinese Embassy’s reaction to Prague City Hall’s revocation of the Prague-Beijing sister city agreement. The foreign minister told journalists on Wednesday morning that threats have no place in diplomacy.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, the Chinese Ambassador to Prague Zhang Jianmin called on City Hall to change its approach to the revocation of the Prague-Beijing agreement, or countermeasures will be enacted.
Mr. Petříček also said that nothing has changed in the attitudes of the Czech government towards China and that he repeatedly told the Chinese ambassador that the government cannot influence the decisions made by Prague City Hall.
Jan Palach Memorial opens in Všetaty
The National Museum opened its new memorial to Jan Palach, the student who protested the passivity of his countrymen following the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 by self-immolation, in Všetaty on Wednesday. The house which Jan Palach grew up in, in the Central Bohemian village, has now been converted into a memorial featuring a multimedia exposition. The opening ceremony was attended by the minister of culture and Cardinal Dominik Duka.
The building was bought by the National Museum in 2014, but work on the memorial only began last year.
PM urges people to not attend Gott memorial event amid fears of overcrowding
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says people should consider honouring singer Karel Gott in other ways than by attending a public memorial event on Friday, the day before his private funeral. The public will be able to pay their respects to the singer, who died last week aged 80, at Prague’s Žofín Palace. The venue say they can handle up to 50,000 visitors but there have been reports that up to 300,000 are planning to attend.
On Friday Prague will also be hosting a football game between the Czech Republic and England, while the second day of the annual Signal festival of light will also be bringing large crowds to the city centre.
Vietnamese shops make up largest informal retail chain in Czechia
The informal chain of small Vietnamese stores makes up the largest retail chain in the Czech Republic and possibly composes up to a fifth of the market, according to the head of the Confederation of Trade and Tourism Tomáš Prouza. Speaking to the Czech News Agency, Mr. Prouza said that a new law amendment which is currently being prepared could affect these small-retailer alliances by re-evaluating them as a significant market power.
According to him, inspectors currently have problems when dealing with the owners of such stores in part because of the murkiness surrounding their company ID. By classifying such retailers as an alliance of traders under the new legislation could help tax them more effectively.
Communist MP under fire for allegations he plagiarised parts of his doctoral thesis
Dr. Zdeňek Ondráček, a communist party member of the Chamber of Deputies has found himself under fire following allegations he plagiarised parts of his thesis during the time he studied for his doctorate at the Palacký University in Olomouc. The MP has dismissed the claims and said he is considering legal steps in his defence.
Journalists from the Czech daily Mf DNES found eight passages sometimes up to a page long from previous academic research, which Dr. Ondráček failed to either cite or reference in his thesis.
According to the Palacký University in Olomouc, Dr. Ondráček’s thesis was checked by anti-plagiarism software upon being handed in and nothing was detected. However, the university spokeswoman told Czech Radio that the institution will re-analyse the thesis and should have a conclusion ready within a month.
Lech Wałęsa to speak at this year’s Forum 2000 conference
The former president of Poland and one of the founders of the 1980s Polish labour union movement known as “Solidarity”, Lech Wałęsa, will be one of the speakers at this year’s Forum 2000 conference in Prague, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday. Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I. and Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček will also feature among the wide list of prominent thought leaders attending the three-day conference which starts on Sunday.
The conference is organised annually and was co-founded by former Czech President Václav Havel. Its primary aims are the support of democratic values, civil society and respect for human rights. On the occasion of the 30 anniversary since the fall of the Iron Curtain, this year’s theme has been named “Recovering the Promise of 1989.”
Showers across most of the country will continue across much of the country on Thursday, with the average temperature lying at 12 degrees Celsius. Skies are expected to clear out during the Weekend when temperatures could reach up to 22 degrees.