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Civic group wants Zeman to be sued for pro-Chinese text

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Prague, Nov 1 (CTK) – Czech lawmakers should do their utmost to bring the four supreme constitutional officials, especially President Milos Zeman, to account for the pro-Chinese statement that they recently issued, representatives of the Kromeriz Appeal group told a press conference on Tuesday.

Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek denounced the effort as an undemocratic appeal.

In reaction to an official meeting between Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) and the Tibetan Dalai Lama held in Prague on October 18, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, parliament heads Jan Hamacek and Milan Stech (all three Social Democrats, CSSD) and Zeman issued a joint statement saying the Czech Republic fully respects China’s territorial integrity, including Tibet. They also said such individual activities of some ministers had no influence on Czech foreign policy.

According to the Kromeriz Appeal group, Zeman might be sued for a serious violation of the constitution in relation to the official statement on Czech-Chinese relations.

Chinese political representatives label the Tibetan spiritual leader a separatist and sharply criticise leading politicians of other countries who meet him. The Dalai Lama, 81, won the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting non-violence.

Kromeriz Appeal spokesman Vaclav Nemec called on the Senate to consider launching prosecution of Zeman.

Lawyer Jan Kalvoda, from the group, said representatives of the legislative and executive powers issued a joint statement, which was against the constitution.

Right-wing opposition lawmakers have criticised the statement and wanted the two houses of parliament to discuss it. They accused the prime minister of servility and kowtowing to Beijing.

Sobotka said the statement expressed the official stance of the government and only repeated the principles of Czech-Chinese partnership.

“This is a genuinely undemocratic appeal in the spirit of the dark tradition of the Second Republic [Czechoslovakia between October 1938 and the start of the German occupation in March 1939] and the first half of the 1970s [in the aftermath of the 1968 Warsaw invasion of Czechoslovakia],” Ovcacek tweeted on the Kromeriz Appeal.

The Kromeriz Appeal was formed earlier this year to seek a personality that would run in the presidential election scheduled for early 2018 and, if possible, replace Zeman, of whom the group is highly critical. The group has presented two potential presidential candidates so far, MEP and former minister Jiri Pospisil and retired diplomat Petr Kolar.

Zeman said he would announce next spring whether he was going to seek re-election.

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