Sunday, 15 July 2018

Opposition leader wants to cancel Czech MPs' visit to China

17 July 2017

Prague, July 14 (CTK) - Opposition TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek called today on the Czech Chamber of Deputies' leadership to call off the planned trip of MPs to China due to the death of Chinese dissident, poet and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

This step should be a symbolic protest against how "the criminal communist regime killed a significant intellectual and writer," Kalousek said.

"I suppose that under these circumstances, the Chamber of Deputies must express its opinion... on the so fundamental suppression of human rights that leads to the loss of freedom as well as loss of life," Kalousek said.

He also called on the heads of deputy groups not to send their representatives to China if the lower house's leadership did not cancel the trip.

Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) told CTK that the organisational committee that had approved the visit would not meet again. Consequently, it us up to the individual MPs whether they would go to China or not, he added.

Kalousek's adviser Ondrej Jakob told CTK that TOP 09 deputy Gabriela Peckova had already called off her participation in the delegation to visit China.

Another member of the delegation, Radim Holecek (opposition Civic Democrats, ODS), wrote to CTK that he would go to China at any rate. "I am not a supporter of cheap pre-election gestures," he said.

Seven deputies, invited by the Chinese Embassy, were to leave for a one-week visit to the Chinese Sichuan province next Thursday. They would meet the region's official representatives.

The lower house's organisational committee approved the visit in mid-June.

Chinese political prisoner Liu, who was inspired by the Czechoslovak Charter 77 human rights manifesto and dissident anti-communist movement, died of a total collapse at the age of 61. The Chinese authorities announced his death on Thursday.

Lie suffered from liver cancer in its final stage because of which he was released from prison on parole and sent to a hospital in northeast China. However, the Chinese authorities did not enable his transport abroad for medial treatment.

Norwegian Nobel Committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen accused the government in Beijing of his death.

U.N. General Secretary Antonio Guterres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as other statesmen and personalities expressed a deep sorrow at Liu's death. The U.N., Germany, France and the United States demanded the freedom of movement for Liu's widow Liu Xia.

Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) sent a letter of condolences to her. He wrote that Liu had devoted his life to the promotion and protection of the values of democracy, human rights and justice.


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