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China cancels another Czech musical tour as dispute with Prague escalates

Prague, Czech Republic – Beijing has cancelled the scheduled tour of yet another Czech music ensemble over the escalating “One China policy” dispute.

According to Czech Television (ČT), China has cancelled the planned tour of Guarneri Trio Prague, a chamber music ensemble founded in 1986 and led by Ivan Klansky, the dean of the Music and Dance faculty of Prague’s Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU).

In July, Beijing had already announced that it was “indefinitely” postponing the scheduled tour of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra as a retaliation against what it sees as growing provocations from the mayor of the Czech capital, Zdenek Hřib (Pirate Party).

Even then it was already clear that Beijing could extend the ban to other Prague-based musical and cultural institutions due to perform in China over the coming months.

Apart from the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Quartet and the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra were also unable to perform in China.

Hřib has been an outspoken critic of Beijing and a vocal supporter of Taiwan and Tibet, moreover pledging to amend the sister-agreement between Prague and Beijing to remove the clause according to which the Czech capital has to respect and abide by the  so-called “One China policy”.

Tensions between China and Prague have been rising during the summer, when the Chinese Foreign Ministry and its embassy in the Czech Republic, in a sign of escalating dispute, issued statements urging Prague to “act in favour of the common interest of both countries” and not to undermine bilateral relations.

Although the Czech government has distanced itself from the stance and actions of the “renegade” Prague mayor, the growing feud with the municipal authorities is becoming an increasingly annoying thorn in the side of Chinese authorities who have long been acting behind-the-scenes to increase their influence in the Czech Republic.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.