|Some Facts to be Clarified about China-Czech Relations|
–A Letter to the Editor of The Washington Post
Zhang Maoming 31 December 2019
Regarding Mr. Zdenek Hrib's article Why We Fly the Tibetan Flag over Prague City Hall in The Washington Post on December 23, 2019:
The Chinese Embassy in Prague disagrees on the objectivity and authenticity of many of the statements. We see The Washington Post as a leading media outlet with international influence and believe its readers deserve to know the whole picture. To put things in perspective, we hope to contribute the following facts about how the real China-Czech relations look like.
To start with Mr. Hrib's groundless accusation of China as "an unreliable business partner" and "a country that holds enormous grudges," which we are firmly opposed to, here are some statistics to reveal in what way China deals with other countries.
Since the implementation of its reform and opening up policy starting from 1978, China has been closely integrated into the world. Today's China contributes more than 30% of world growth and 11.8% of international trade with over $4.6 trillion worth of imports and exports. In terms of capital flow, China has cumulatively utilized $2 trillion of foreign direct investment and made $1.9 trillion of outward investment up to now.
Facing a sluggish global economy, China, in line with its principle of win-win cooperation, has been working to offer countries around the world fresh opportunities in market, investment and growth under such cooperation frameworks as the Belt and Road Initiative and the China International Import Expo. The year 2018 alone saw more than 60,000 new foreign-invested enterprises established in China, up by 69.8% from the previous year. Isn't that a vote of confidence in China as a marketplace and a business partner?
Looking back, it was good solid work and the sharing of opportunities that helped China get where it is today, and fair-minded people can tell right from wrong. Perhaps there is more than a hint of "sour grapes" when some politicians are trying to paint China as "unreliable".
On the sister-city relationship, it was a voluntarily-concluded agreement inked in March 2016 between Beijing and Prague based on equality and mutual benefit until certain politicians started to sour it for the sake of their own political agenda.
Under the sister-city agreement, Beijing and Prague had enjoyed exchanges and cooperation in a wide range of fields like economy, trade, tourism, culture, education and health. Such good cooperation started to take a dive in November 2018 when certain politicians in the new Prague municipal government decided to unilaterally tear up the agreement and sabotage the mutually-beneficial cooperation. They are trying to stir up troubles and incite hatred by challenging China's state sovereignty and gravely interfering in China's internal affairs in disregard of basic norms governing international relations and consensus shared by the international community,
Facts speak louder than words. Any unbiased mind can tell who is politicizing the cooperative relationship and seeking selfish gains through media hype.
In recent years, China-Czech strategic partnership has been growing with across-the-board bilateral exchanges and cooperation steadily advanced, and tangible benefits brought to the two countries and peoples are for the world to see.
China has become the second largest trade partner of the Czech Republic and its largest trade partner outside the European Union. According to Chinese statistics, China-Czech bilateral trade volume in 2018 exceeded $16.3 billion. With an actual investment stock of $2.4 billion in the Czech Republic, China has invested in 50-plus Czech companies and created over 6,000 jobs.
Over the past few years, four direct flights linking Chinese cities and Prague have been opened, boosting the annual growth of Chinese tourists bound for the Czech Republic by nearly 30%. The "Happy Spring Festival" fair has been held in the Czech Republic for five consecutive years and has become a well-recognized project for China-Czech cultural exchange. And cooperation in Traditional Chinese Medicine, football and ice hockey between the two countries further solidifies. Chinese and Czech translators continue to work on literature works from each other's culture, and sinologists and people from cultural and art circles are closely interacting.
What China has is an open and inclusive mind in developing state-to-state relations. It advances coordination and cooperation between major countries, deepens interests integration with its neighboring countries, and cultivates friendship and solidarity with other developing countries. China aims to foster a new type of international relations and forge a global network of partnerships where countries choose dialogue and partnership over confrontation and alliance.
China hopes to work with all the countries around the world for home-grown and sustainable development, thus contributing to global prosperity and stability. That is what China aims to achieve in its strive to advance the development of the Belt and Road Initiative, in its efforts to jointly build the second Golden Decade of the BRICS cooperation, and in its provision of unconditional assistance to other developing countries, especially the least developed ones.
We sincerely hope the above facts could be clarified to the readers of The Washington Post so that they are not misled by false stories about China-Czech relations.
(The Writer is Chargé d'affaires of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Czech Republic.)