China miscalculated the power of its wolf diplomacy over the Czech official’s Taiwan visit…




How a Politician’s Death Deepened the Czech Rift With China

By Lenka Ponikelska and Andrea Dudik
September 3, 2020, 2:01 AM EDT Updated on 

Pressure on a Czech politician over plans to visit Taiwan grew so great that it contributed to his death, according to his family. Now his replacement has gone ahead with the trip — widening a rift between China and what was once one of its biggest cheerleaders in the European Union.

Senate Speaker Milos Vystrcil, who headed to Taipei this week, is not just facing threats from Beijing but is also ignoring opposition to his trip from China-friendly President Milos Zeman. It’s that level of politically induced stress that his 72-year-old predecessor, Jaroslav Kubera, endured before a fatal heart attack in January.

While the Czech Republic tends to toe the EU line on foreign policy, the nation of 10.7 million has entered an unlikely and worsening spat with China, its fourth-biggest trading partner. In reality, though, politicians are divided over relations with Beijing, with some favoring close economic ties and others appalled by China’s human-rights record.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi — in Europe discussing investments — warned of a “heavy price” for visiting Taiwan, calling Vystrcil’s trip a “betrayal” that makes him an “enemy of 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

The visit is an “open provocation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman HUA Chunying told a regular briefing Thursday in Beijing. “The one-China principle is the political foundation for establishing and developing bilateral relations between China and the Czech Republic. We urge the Czech side to take actions to remove the negative impact to avoid hurting overall relations.”

Prime Minister Andrej Babis said Wang’s remarks crossed a line. For Kubera’s daughter, Vendula Vinsova, the threats stirred uncomfortable memories.

“We knew he was under pressure and behaving really unusually, but we didn’t know the details,” she said. After sifting through documents about his planned trip and following developments in the past few months, “I felt like I’d suddenly woken up in a different world.”

— With assistance by Cindy Wang, and Lucille Liu







This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s