This week, the Dalai Lama has been in Prague as part of the Forum 2000 conference, a human rights initiative co-founded by late Czech president Václav Havel.
And while the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader has met with some representatives of the Czech government, and was warmly greeted by local crowds during a speech outside Prague Castle on Monday, not all Czech politicians are happy about his presence.
Yesterday, a “Joint Statement by the Highest Representatives of the Czech Republic” was released on the official pages of Prague Castle through spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček.
In it, the Castle re-affirms its long-term goal of cooperation with the Chinese government, and reiterates its official position on Tibet, which it considers to be part of China.
The statement is signed by Czech President Miloš Zeman, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Chairman of the Senate Milan Štěch, and Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Jan Hamáček.
It is, perhaps, an attempt to avoid the kind of Chinese “retaliation” that Slovakia now faces after President Andrej Kiska met with the Dalai Lama over the weekend.
Here’s the full text, translated from Hrad.cz:
“As the highest constitutional representatives of the Czech Republic, we wish to emphasize that our country’s long-term policy towards the People’s Republic of China is based on principles of strategic partnership between the two countries and the mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China, of which Tibet is part.
“Relations between our countries, and their significant development in recent years, is very useful and helpful for both sides, and we are convinced that it is in the best interest of the Czech Republic that these relationships continue to vigorously develop.
“Personal activities of some Czech politicians do not reflect changes in the official policy of the Czech Republic, and we would consider it unfortunate if anyone perceived them as such.”