Flag vandalism embarrasses Prague too

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-28 0:43:01

Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the Czech Republic, dozens of Chinese flags hoisted in the country were spattered with a black substance on Friday night. No one had yet claimed responsibility for the incident as of Sunday night.

Among Central and Eastern European nations, the Czech Republic attaches high importance to its relationship with China. It has long stepped out of the period when ideology dominated its foreign relations after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is strongly proved by the attendance of Czech President Milos Zeman in Beijing's military parade last September.

However, a few ideological activists in the Czech Republic still indulge in ultra-right political campaigns, although the country has completed its political transition. It is somewhat true that some people in Eastern Europe are more obsessed with opposing communism than Western Europeans. Some of these activists are enthusiastic about "Tibet independence." Most of them have never been to Tibet, but they imagine the region as a place where religions were suppressed and prohibited by the Communist Party of China. They also collide with Tibet separatists in Europe and stir up troubles. These political activists seek the spotlight by staging protests on major international occasions. But defacing Chinese flags seems to be a new trick.

Obviously, perpetrators intend to disgrace China, but they may embarrass the Czech Republic more. As an economic and political power, China will increasingly be targeted by activists in the future as protesting against it can attract more attention from the international media.

That the defacement of a visiting leader's national flags occurred in the Czech Republic rather than in other European countries such as Germany, Poland and Slovakia shows major lapses from the Prague police and the hidden hostility in Czech society. The vandalism has exerted a negative influence on Prague's civilization.

We believe that the vandalism doesn't represent the attitude of Czech society toward China as the two countries now enjoy a sound public foundation for friendly cooperation. After former Czech president Václav Havel passed away, public opinion in the Czech Republic hardly appears to be more unfriendly than any other European country, while Chinese people speak highly of the Czech Republic. Yet the spattering unveils an unknown side in the nation. The incident is of little significance in China-Czech Republic relations and it will unlikely jeopardize their sound bilateral cooperation. Nor will it taint China's national image since the incident is all about the despicability of vandals. Other than that, it will cripple people's view of social governance in the Czech Republic.

While it is not our concern, it will be up to the police in the Czech Republic to find out whether the vandals are supporters of Tibetan independence or general activists against communism. Vandals actually challenge the management of Prague and the country's ability to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Posted in: Editorial

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