Czech tennis great slams Australian Open China stance as "cowardly"

Plus: tensions over Ukraine in Prague, naked Xi Jinping statue paraded in front of Chinese embassy, murder in Mělník as woman chops off man's genitals.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 24.01.2022 09:40:00 (updated on 24.01.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

15:20 More anti-China protests held in Prague

The Kaputin protest group, which paraded a naked statue of Xi Jinping in front of the Chinese embassy in Prague on Sunday, has staged another demonstration, this time calling for Chinese cotton to be boycotted. Protestors highlighted brands which use cotton allegedly picked using slave labor from Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province of China. The Kaputin group will meet MPs in the city center on Tuesday to discuss the issue of Uyghur-picked cotton. Meanwhile, Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen today called for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics at a meeting in the Czech Senate.

14:15 Czech-Polish Turów deal violates law, say environment activists

The current proposed draft of an agreement to resolve the Czech-Polish Turów lignite mine dispute is not in accordance with Czech or EU law, according to an environment platform bringing together environmental and legal experts. The group notes that Czech and EU law does not allow a government to knowingly approve environmental damage on its own territory. The platform also criticized the Czech Environment Ministry for not launching proceedings on environmental damage with the European Commission. On Wednesday, Czech Environment Minister Anna Hubáčková will present a new draft of a proposed Turów agreement to the government. Together For Water said the proposal to build an underground wall would not prevent the outflow of groundwater from the area.

12:00 Czech embassy staff in Ukraine not being evacuated yet

Some countries have started evacuating embassy staff from Ukraine in anticipation of potential military action from Russia, but the Czech Foreign Ministry is not currently preparing such steps. The ministry's crisis staff will meet on Tuesday to discuss the protection of embassy staff and Czech citizens in Ukraine, a spokesperson has announced. The withdrawal of some embassy staff and their families has already been started by the U.S. and British governments.

11:25 Navrátilová slams Australian Open for China protest restrictions

Czech tennis great Martina Navrátilová has criticized the Australian Open organizers for stopping fans wearing shirts expressing support for Chinese doubles player Peng Shuai, whose absence from public view after accusing a former Chinese vice premier of sexual assault sparked concern. Shuai has since reappeared but concerns over her welfare remain. Navrátilová said "I find this really, really cowardly. I think they are wrong on this. This is not a political statement, it's a human rights statement." A video showed security officials instructing people to remove shirts with the slogan "Where is Peng Shuai?", on the basis that political statements are not allowed at the competition.

Ukraine-Russia Tensions over Ukraine rise in Prague

A rally was held in Prague at the weekend expressing support for Ukraine and opposition to Russian aggression threatening the outbreak of war in the country. The rally saw members of Prague's Ukrainian community expressing their support for their homeland.

Meanwhile, Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová said that help will be provided to Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression depending on the desires of the Ukrainian government. Černochová said that weapons and ammunition deliveries will be coordinated with the other Visegrád countries and other nations in Central Europe.

China Naked Xi Jinping statue paraded in Chinese embassy protest

The Kaputin activist group based in the Czech Republic held a protest against the Chinese authoritarian regime in front of the Chinese embassy in Prague yesterday. A spokesperson for the police said the authorities had not been made aware that the event would take place, but that it proceeded without any problems.

Activists paraded a naked statue of Chinese President Xi Jinping in front of the embassy along with nooses in the shape and color of the five Olympic rings. Kaputin called for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics as well as Chinese products over the regime’s atrocities against the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority as well as its stance on Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Crime Murder in Mělník after partner chops off man’s penis

Police in Mělník are investigating a horrific murder in which the victim’s penis was cut off. Locals claim the man was killed by his partner; police have already arrested one person in connection with the case. Police arrived at the scene of the crime at around 15:00 yesterday. An autopsy has been ordered, the results of which should be available to police on Monday. The events that led to the murder are not yet known.

Most similar cases of brutality recorded by police are motivated by a partner’s infidelity. A young woman cut off her partner’s penis in Brazil last summer following a quarrel; in this case too, the man did not survive. Similar cases have also been seen in recent years in Pakistan and India.

Jewish History Czech Torah goes on display in Florida

A Czech Torah scroll which partook in the country’s dramatic twentieth-century history will go on display in the Jewish Museum of Florida. The Torah was donated to Florida International University over a decade ago and was described by the museum director as illustrating an “important story in Jewish history.”

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The Torah was one of over 1,500 sent to the Jewish Museum in Prague in 1942 for safekeeping after the ransacking of Czech synagogues during Nazi rule. In the early 1960s the scroll was bought by a British philanthropist and donated to London’s Westminster Synagogue, where the Memorial Scrolls Trust was established, loaning Torah’s to synagogues and other organizations around the world. It’s thought the Torah now in Florida was written around 1850 and was originally housed in Prague's Klausen Synagogue in Prague's Josefov district.

Politics Castle demands apology over claims about Zeman’s health

Psychiatrist and former Minister for Human Rights Džamila Stehlíková claimed on her Twitter profile that the Czech President’s Office is demanding an apology and compensation of CZK 1 million for her previous statements about Miloš Zeman’s health problems. Stehlíková claimed that the President’s health problems are related to alcoholic liver cirrhosis.

Stehlíková compared her treatment to that of whistleblowers in authoritarian regimes, suggesting that the Castle’s response indicates that the Czech Republic is not on the western liberal path. “How much is the truth about the President worth? In the West, it could lead to the abdication of the President; in Belarus or Russia, citizen could pay with their life or be imprisoned. In the Czech Republic, you pay a million crowns. And an apology,” she said.

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