Chinese Embassy in Prague secretly purchased personal protective equipment
Beginning in January, the Chinese embassy in Prague instructed thousands of Chinese citizens living in the Czech Republic to purchase personal protective equipment for shipment to China, Aktualne reports.
At the beginning of March, the Security and Information Service warned the government that the Chinese Embassy in the Czech Republic had been organizing mass purchases of masks and respirators since the beginning of January. Respekt first reported on it. According to Aktualne.cz, the embassy ordered Chinese citizens living in the Czech Republic to purchase hundreds of thousands of masks. Among them, was an influential man of the local community, Zhou Lingjian, who is directly linked to the Communist government.
BIS warned Babis
Prime Minister Andrei Babis now welcomes shipments of respirators and masks at the airport, which the state buys for billions in China. According to several sources of Aktualne.cz and Respekt, however, at the beginning of March, he received a confidential message from the Security and Information Service. Counterintelligence services warned the government that since January, the Chinese Embassy and the secret services of the communist state in the Czech Republic were organizing a large-scale event involving several thousand Chinese citizens living in the Czech Republic.
The aim was to buy as much help as possible for the coronavirus-tested communist power and send it “home.” Hundreds of thousands of masks, respirators or protective coats are now critically missing in the Czech Republic, and the Ministry of Health is trying to buy them in China. At prices that are often several times normal pre-crisis.
BIS does not want to comment. “No comment,” said Ladislav Šticha, a counterintelligence spokesman. Aktualne.cz also addressed Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. He did not respond until the text was released.
Zeman Associate Zhou Lingjian
Zhou Lingjian has coordinated the Chinese purchase of protective equipment in recent months. He is a highly regarded member of the Czech Chinese community. He is the chairman of the expatriate association of the Qinghai city in the Czech Republic. “Formally, it makes him the number one or two man in the Chinese community here. With a very proven connection to the Chinese regime,” said Sinopsis analyst Filip Jirous.
He leads the largest expatriate association of Chinese in the Czech Republic, runs the Czech Chinese-language online medium Prague Chinese Times and is directly connected to the communist government, even accompanied President Milos Zeman to China. The expatriate association of Qinghai City in the Czech Republic, which is headed by Zhou Lingjian, is the most significant part of the China Peace Reunification Association. According to Chinese authorities in the Czech Republic, about five thousand compatriots are living in the Czech Republic. Of these, three thousand come from Qingtian.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis refused to send protective material to China in February, saying that the Czech Republic needs it. But the Chinese living in the Czech Republic purchased masks, respirators and other protective materials, sending them as help to Qingtian. According to information traceable in Chinese public sources, there were hundreds of infrared thermometers, tens of thousands of respirators and disposable protective jackets, and hundreds of thousands of surgical masks.
“Zhou Lingjian has already collected 780,000 medical masks, and over 30,000 disposable surgical gowns and N95 respirators,” said the official website of the Chinese People’s Political Advisory Assembly. According to it, the Chinese living in the Czech Republic “bought supplies from morning to evening at large pharmacies.”
“By 8 February, the Chinese had accumulated more than € 200,000 in medical supplies in the Czech Republic,” says one of the texts in the Chinese media.
The collection was said to have been organized not only by Zhou Lingjian but also by Cong Wei-Jung (the chairman of the Czech Association of Chinese Youth). “Often, I had to work at night, so I only slept for three hours,” Cunga said.
Since he has always been keen on helping people for many years, Cung Wei-Juna called Lej Feng in Prague,” the text continues. Lej Feng is probably a fictitious soldier invented by the propaganda during the Cultural Revolution as an exemplary citizen.
In early February, they also organized a collection of money and medical supplies for Qingtian. Masks and other aids were sent by plane from Prague.
In early March, Zhou was commissioned by the Qingtian charity, which was established at the end of 2019, to buy 50 tons of rice and send them to Qingtian compatriots in Italy. The organization is connected to the Chinese Communist government. In a press release, the director of the Qingtian office for expatriate affairs said he commissioned Chou’s association to send the rice to Italy. Chou also had boxes of protective equipment in a warehouse in Lovosis, which was confiscated by the Czech police. The rice was shipped out on 6 March.
Aktualne.cz has reported that the Lovosice warehouse, which police raided last week, was rented by Chou. Hundreds of thousands of masks imported by Zhou Lingjian ended up in the hands of a Czech dealer who tried to sell them at an inflated price to the state. The remainder, Chou said, were sent to Italy. How they came from his warehouse in the Czech Republic is unclear.