China loses soft-power bases in Prague university

Charles University in Prague.

(, Nov15’19) – In yet another instance of Czech pushback against China, capital Prague’s Charles University has closed its Czech-Chinese Centre following local media reports that said some of its staff had failed to declare payments from the Chinese embassy intended to support its programmes.

The news reports, published in October, prompted the secretary of the centre to resign, reported the AFP Nov 14.

The announcement of the closure was made by rector Tomas Zima in a statement posted on the university’s website Nov13.

Last month, Prague city council cancelled a partnership agreement with Beijing after the latter refused to remove the “one China” clause in the deal at the urging of the city’s new Tibet and Taiwan-friendly Mayor Zdenek Hrib.

Before that, the Czech cyber-security watchdog warned last year against using equipment made by China’s Huawei and ZTE in critical infrastructure.

The Czech-Chinese Centre had been intended to promote academic and cultural exchange through some of the Charles University’s faculties, the report noted.

The Czech Republic has recently been trying to attract Chinese money and its second-term President Milos Zeman has been an outspoken supporter of China in a reversal of years of the country’s leaders’ criticism of China’s human rights record. However, the push has not generated the expected billions of dollars in Chinese investment.


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