Welcome to Talkback, a forum to voice your opinion on today’s Czech news.
This week’s topic:What’s beyond the Vietnamese marketplace?
Times are getting tougher for the Vietnamese community living in the Czech Republic. Three weeks ago, the Vietnamese Sapa marketplace, also known as Little Hanoi, caught fire. This affected approximately one-fifth of the 250,000-square-metre market. One week later, the Czech interior and foreign affairs ministries suspended issuing long-term visas to Vietnamese citizens, stating alleged underworld practices accompanying the visa procedure and organised crime in the Vietnamese community.
As if that was not enough, last week on Saturday, more than 800 police and customs officers and trade inspectors participated in an extensive raid on Little Hanoi, using armoured vehicles. In reaction to the raid, Vietnamese students signed a petition, saying the raid was politically motivated with an exaggerated use of force and applying collective guilt on Vietnamese ethnic group.
Another petition was signed by a group of citizens living in the vicinity of the marketplace. They demand that the place be closed, citing insufficient safety measures. At the same time, a few Czech citizens expressed empathy and offered financial help after the place caught fire.
Since the communist era when the first Vietnamese guest workers began settling down in this country, the community has grown to around 40,000. Vietnamese immigrants were regarded by the Czech population as hard workers with a strong sense of community and traditional values. There was hardly any integration between the two societies. But this is changing with the youngest generation of Vietnamese entering schools and speaking Czech. What impact could the state intervention have on the Czechs’ view of Vietnamese community?
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