Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performed the famous Chinese folk song, Jasmine Flower, in support of Wuhan and China’s ongoing battle against the coronavirus epidemic in the country.
“We are very concerned and sad with the situation that you are going through. We wanted to show you our friendship and support and to tell you that in our thoughts and prayers we are with you. We will do it the best way we can, that is with music,” stated the Czech Philharmonic’s CEO David Mareček in a video posted online by China’s official state-run press agency Xinhua.
“Our musicians still remember the last tour of China we had and we have beautiful memories of our concert in Wuhan,” he added, before concluding in Mandarin: “Wuhan, jiayou! Zhongwo, jiayou!” (Wuhan, stay strong! China stay strong!).
China’s official state-run press agency Xinhua reports that the “special performance was dedicated to the profound friendship between China and the Czech Republic”.
The special performance is filmed at the Rudolfinum, home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
For now, the Czech Republic hasn’t reported any confirmed cases of coronavirus, although the country is being hit by a flu epidemic.
In addition to the coronavirus epidemic, this surprising statement comes against the backdrop of an ongoing dispute between Prague and Beijing which has seen the cancellation of a number of tours planned in the country for Prague-based musical orchestras and cultural institutions, including the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the termination of Prague’s sister-city agreement with the Chinese capital.
This was prompted by the fact that, since taking office last November, Prague’s Pirate mayor Zdeněk Hřib has been an outspoken critic of Beijing and a vocal supporter of Taiwan and Tibet, pledging to remove the clause according to which the Czech capital has to respect and abide by the so-called “One China policy”.
Tensions escalated last summer, when the Chinese Foreign Ministry and its embassy in the Czech Republic issued statements urging Prague to “act in favour of the common interest of both countries”.
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.
Prague has since then signed a new sister city agreement with Taipei.