That’s the message the mayor of Prague has for Chinese officials desperate to rebrand Beijing as a global superpower by selling supplies and offering aid to countries around the world struggling to fight coronavirus.
“This isn’t a humanitarian gift or aid,” Zdenek Hřib told Bloomberg News on Friday. “From China’s perspective, it’s business.”
That “business” has had some serious growing pains in the last few weeks. Up to 80 percent of the 150,000 rapid coronavirus test kits China delivered to the Czech Republic in March was faulty and less accurate than other tests, forcing the Czech Republic to continue to rely on conventional laboratory tests.
Hřib believes that despite the extraordinary circumstances facing the world right now, it is important to keep the pressure on China and challenge the country on its history of human rights abuses.
His comments directly contradict Milos Zeman, the Czech Republic’s China-friendly leader, who has accepted Beijing’s help and publicly praised President Xi Jinping a number of times.
More recently, while parts of Europe were going into lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, Hrib flew the Tibetan flag over city hall on March 10 to commemorate the anniversary of the region’s failed 1959 revolt over the Communist Party.