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August 10, 2018 12:00 am | FILED UNDER: politics

MP’s Likely To Cancel Contentious China Trip

By ČTK Milos Zeman Ye Jianming

Prague, Aug 10 (CTK) – The unofficial visit of nine Czech lawmakers from four parties to China, scheduled for late August, is unlikely to take place since most of them have cancelled their participation, Jan Birke (Social Democrats, CSSD), who was to head the delegation, told journalists today.

 

Due to the cancellations, only three lawmakers would remain.

 

“This may be indecent to the host,” Birke said.

 

An unofficial delegation of nine Czech lawmakers will pay a visit to China in late August, with Beijing financing their trip that the Czech lower house organisational committee has refused to approve, daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) wrote on Thursday.

 

Birke said he would inform the Chinese authorities about the final decision on the trip next Tuesday.

 

He said he had not yet made up his mind.

 

“I still insist on my view that if I am invited, the invitation should be accepted. Nevertheless, I respect and accept the decision of the other lawmakers,” Birke said.

 

The visit was to take place on the invitation of China.

 

The Chamber of Deputies’ organisational committee did not support the trip at its meeting in July, since it was not clear what its purpose is, what the delegates would do in China and based on what criteria the participants were chosen.

 

“It is quite strange if this [a trip abroad] is paid for you by a foreign state,” said MP Miroslava Nemcova (opposition Civic Democrats, ODS).

 

Birke said the deputy groups of Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ ANO and the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) would not send their representatives.

 

The server iRozhlas said the deputies for the ODS would not take part in the trip either.

 

Birke said only three lawmakers had remained. Along with him, these are Communist (KSCM) deputies Hana Aulicka Jirovcova and Zdenek Ondracek.

 

Birke said he was yet to speak with KSCM representatives and the Social Democrat leader, Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, who is now also the acting foreign minister.

 

“This was an unusual application and the committee refused to cover the [travel] expenses. If they go there and China finances it, it will be no routine foreign trip,” MP Jan Bartosek (opposition Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) told HN.

 

“The delegation’s [trip] is not in the interest of the Czech Republic but of the People’s Republic of China,” said MP Jan Farsky (opposition Mayors and Independents, STAN).

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