Prague district mayor's unhinged letter to China named Foreign Policy's "document of the week"

"Your behavior has completely crossed the line of what is diplomatically acceptable," Pavel Novotný wrote to the Chinese Foreign Minister

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 07.09.2020 11:01:23 (updated on 07.09.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Following a statement from Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Czech Senate head Miloš Vystrčil would “pay a heavy price” for his delegation to Taiwan, Prague-Řeporyje district mayor Pavel Novotný fired right back with a letter that quickly went viral and ultimately became US magazine Foreign Policy’s “document of the week.”

The incendiary letter Novotný sent Wang Yi demanded an official apology from China – and warned that Wang Yi will “pay a heavy price for bullying” the Czech Senate chair.

“This was the last time you opened your mouth about the Czech Republic!” Novotný’s letter reads. “Your behavior has completely crossed the line of what is diplomatically acceptable. How dare you threaten our Senate chair, you thoughtless, rude clown!”

“The People’s Republic of China will apologize ASAP for this shameless threat. And when I say ASAP, I mean right now! I want to have it in 24 hours on the table of the Czech Foreign Minister.”

“Do not let it happen again!” Novotný’s letter concludes.

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Needless to say, Novotný did not receive an apology within 24 hours.

A post covering the incident was one of the top trending stories on Reddit last week, and the most-discussed item in the r/Worldnews subreddit, attracting the kind of social media attention that even the original statement from Wang Yi didn’t generate.

Novotný responded to the Foreign Policy inclusion on his Facebook page.

“Foreign Policy magazine made me very happy. Their document of the week usually features documents from the Chinese government, the UN, NATO and most often the White House,” he wrote.

“This time, however, Řeporyje won with a letter in which I scolded Beijing for their threats. I am especially proud.”

Novotný is no stranger to controversy. The construction of a Řeporyje memorial to the WWII Vlasov Army, who collaborated with the Nazis but later helped free Prague, drew strong protests from Russia. Novotný was later one of three Prague mayors placed under police protection for months following what was ultimately a phony poisoning threat.

Elsewhere in the developing Czech-Taiwan-China story, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has backed the Czech Republic. While hosting Wang Yi in Germany, Maas stated that these kinds of threats have nothing to do in politics, and that he expects mutual respect from international partners.

Vystrčil, meanwhile, made his own world headlines after claiming “I am Taiwanese,” during the trip, echoing John F. Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein berliner” speech.

Yesterday, Czech President Miloš Zeman told reporters in a Prima TV interview that Vystrčil would no longer be invited to foreign policy meetings as a punishment for his delegation.

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