Czech parliament refuses to thank Taiwan for help amid Chinese pressure

Czech MPs, citizens criticize parliament for bowing to Beijing after failing to thank Taiwan for help

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June 4 session of Chamber of Deputies. (Blesk.cz screenshot)

June 4 session of Chamber of Deputies. (Blesk.cz screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Members of the Czech Republic parliament on Thursday (June 4) criticized their fellow MPs as kowtowing to China after a measure to thank Taiwan for its help fighting the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic failed to pass.

During an extraordinary meeting of the Chamber of Deputies, the parliament's lower house, the opposition Pirate Party proposed a resolution to thank Taiwan for donating medical supplies to help the country cope with the pandemic. However, the measure was rejected, leading some in the opposition to accuse their counterparts of bowing to China for supplies of masks and respirators.

After a lunch break, the motion to thank Taiwan for its assistance was put forward for a vote. During the proceedings, Zbynek Stanjura, a member of the Civic Democratic Party, said, "Amid the strong pro-Chinese propaganda we have seen here, we thought it would be right to thank Taiwan," reported Blesk.cz.

Stanjura mocked the way China had requested thanks after selling the country personal protective equipment (PPE), saying, "I usually don't thank the cashier." He also pointed out the hypocrisy of the way Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and the Minister of the Interior Jan Hamacek had personally welcomed Chinese planes carrying supplies without doing the same for Taiwanese donations.

Stanjura then highlighted the fact that in contrast, Taiwan had donated its aid to the Czech Republic "free of charge."

Only 46 out of 122 deputies present voted in favor of the resolution. After the measure failed to pass, Jan Bartosek, a member of the Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party apologized for his parliament's failure to thank Taiwan and emphasized that "I do not expect the government to work for Taiwan to become a full member of the WHO. Unlike, China, I see [Taiwan] as an important member. Thank you at least on this point. For all of us."

Bartosek then directed a tweet at Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and wrote: "Thank you very much for your help to the Czech Republic."