By Tenzin Sangmo
Prague Mayor presents the symbolic key to President Dr Lobsang Sangay at the Old City Hall on 6 March 2019. Photo_Andrea.svob
DHARAMSHALA, April 29: In response to the news that Chinese Ministry of Culture has cancelled concerts of Prague-based cultural organizations in China in retaliation for the Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib’s refusal to obey China’s commands, the mayor has reportedly suggested that the orchestra play in Taipei instead.
A report came out that the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra slated to perform later this year in China has been cancelled for the mayor’s refusal to exclude a Taiwanese diplomat and for his meeting with Presidents of Taiwan and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the Tibetan government-in-exile.
The Mayor met with CTA President Dr. Lobsang Sangay on March 6, 2019, who visited the Czech capital to attend the opening of the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.
The mayor presented a symbolic key to city gates to Sangay as a “symbol of trust and friendship” and stated “[W]e are going to raise the Tibetan flag on the buildings of Prague City Hall…[to]… commemorate the upcoming anniversary of 1959 Tibetan Uprising as well as to show solidarity with your people and their uneven struggle for cultural survival within the People’s Republic of China.”
On his visit to Taipei on March 28, 2019, Zdenek reportedly told the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen that he had once rejected China's request to expel a Taiwanese official from an event he hosted in Prague because it was not acceptable to do so from a human decency standpoint.
Since becoming the Mayor of Prague in November 2018, the 37-year-old Hrib, a member of the Czech Pirate Party has irked China by his open objection to the "one China" clause in the Partnership Agreement signed by Prague and Beijing during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the city in 2016.
Hrib, in a recent interview with Czech News Agency (CNA), said the inclusion of Article 3 was a "mistake" and that he will seek to negotiate with Beijing to remove the clause, adding that if that fails, he would rather terminate the agreement between the two cities.
The Mayor announced that he will work with the City Council to ensure that other venues were found for any organizations affected.