Date: 28 March 2020 Author: Łukasz Kobierski
Chinese humiliation in the Czech Republic
With the increasing number of coronavirus infected people in Europe, China supports the chaotic West. However, help is not always what it seems to be and often the hidden agenda of the action taken is revealed. Recent events in the Czech Republic are worth noticing.
According to media reports, at the beginning of March, Czech counterintelligence was to submit a report to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš warning against the purchase of protective masks, coordinated by the Chinese embassy and services, on a mass scale and then sending them to China. At that time, it was the most intense period of the fight against the pandemic in the Middle Kingdom. Despite the Czech Prime Minister’s explicit refusal to send medical supplies to the PRC, the Chinese continued to purchase the equipment necessary to fight the pandemic in order to send it to their country.
Moreover, the local Czech police seized 680 thousand masks and 28 thousand respirators last week. According to the investigation, they were brought in by one of the most influential people in the Czech Chinese community – Zhou Lingjian. He runs, among others, the Prague Chinese Times portal and is also the president of the association of immigrants from Qingtian. He is also a co-owner of CTE CARGO Sped, a company associated with CTE International. He was even a member of the delegation of Czech President Miloš Zeman during his trip to the Middle Kingdom. Moreover, as the media and experts indicate, he is strongly associated with the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Hundreds of thousands of masks imported by Zhou Lingjian fell into the hands of a befriended Czech distributor, who then tried to sell them to the Czech government for twice the price. In addition, about 100 thousand masks were marked as help of the Chinese Red Cross for Italy. It is not clear why the medical supplies were placed and waited in the warehouse and were not sent directly to Italy. Doubts are compounded by the fact that the transport with the help from China arrived in Italy more or less at the same time, directly by airmail. Zhou Lingjian’s associate claims that they had planned to transport parcels in cars from the Czech Republic, but the borders were closed. This is not true, however, as traffic at the border is still possible for trucks and supplies. As the Italian embassy indicates, the protective equipment found in the warehouse was stolen, and according to the information provided by the Czech authorities, the organized criminal group was responsible for this. In recent days, the Czech authorities sent the missing transport to Italy.
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The described situation implies that the Chinese diaspora in the Czech Republic was used in an organised way in the preparing process for the epidemic. The scale of actions taken by Zhou Lingjian, who is associated with the CPC, shows that business groups supporting the authorities can count on their help in pursuing their own interests. It is unlikely that medical transport was forgotten and was accidentally found in the warehouse of a Chinese businessman instead of being transported to Italy. Considering the very active diplomacy and the media in China, celebrating every next delivery of purchased equipment, such a situation seems even less possible. The case of Zhou Lingjian may destroy the successful image achieved by Chinese diplomacy thanks to the transports of medical equipment purchased by European countries. It also proves that political links within the Party are very often used by its members for short-term personal gains, often against the interests of the state.
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