Why Prague Flies the Tibetan Flag Over Their City Hall

Zdenek Hrib, mayor of Prague:

Yet this year, four of our best musical ensembles were in for an unpleasant surprise: China, which had invited them to visit the country, abruptly canceled their long-scheduled tours.

The reason for Beijing’s decision to rescind the invitations was clear. Since I was elected mayor of the Czech capital in 2018, I have worked to fulfill a promise to voters. I vowed during the campaign that I would return to our hallowed post-communist traditions of honoring democracy and human rights. By delivering on that promise, I and my government have prompted the ire of the Chinese Communist Party.

We have chosen to adorn our city hall with the Tibetan flag — which should not bother China at all, considering that its 1951 agreement with the Tibetan government grants the territory a broad degree of autonomy. Being a doctor, I have also publicly condemned the forced extraction of organs from members of the Muslim Uighur minority and other prisoners of the regime.

The Chinese are petty and petulant.

Hrib’s advice:

I am not advising against doing any business with China. Nor am I suggesting that we cut off all diplomatic ties; such an approach would be both extreme and counterproductive. I would, however, encourage our friends around the world to think twice and be cautious before getting into bed with such an unreliable and potentially risky counterpart.

More importantly, I encourage all of you not to surrender your values and personal integrity out of fear of blackmail and threats.

Monday, 23 December 2019