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Czech Statehood Day September 28th - Opportunity to Balance

Celebrations of the national holiday in honour of the patron of the Czech state, saint Wenceslav, the Czech Statehood Day, fall on 28th September. In Beijing, they  were accompanied by several events this year. The organizing Embassy of the Czech Republic was supported by sponsorship of the HomeCredit company. The events met with great interest from both the Chinese public and media. This was undoubtedly also due to the participation of former Czech President Professor Václav Klaus. The first event was a financial-economic seminar. It took place in the St Regis hotel on 25th September. During a lunch, several speakers from leading economically oriented academic institutions and commercial financial institutions presented their views on current challenges in the global economic development. No wonder, this main topic was considered mainly through the prism of current conditions and perspectives of the China's economy. On 26th September, an afternoon Cultural Salon was held in the premises of the Czech Embassy. Friendly discussion recapitulated 70 years of cultural cooperation in the fields of literature, language science and teaching, but also of film, theater and fine arts. Jan Masaryk´s Silver Medals were awarded to five outstanding representatives of culture, mostly from a generation of disciples of the personalities who were awarded in the previous decade. An evening reception represented the third occasion to jointly reflect on the 70 years of bilateral diplomatic relations. Besides the former President Klaus, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PRC H. E. Mr. Qin Gang was the main guest at this event.

On 25th September 2019, the former President of the Czech Republic Professor Václav Klaus opened a financial and economic round table for seventy participants from leading Chinese institutions. Specialists in macroeconomics, banking and non-banking financial services or insurance were in the audience. With the Chinese media's extraordinary interest, Professor Klaus's brilliant and open speech has created an atmosphere of collegiate confidence. Thanks to this entrée, the other contributions were factual and objective. They have definitely contributed to an undistorted mutual understanding of current conditions, problems and perspectives. Views on current challenges were presented by leading experts of several important institutions: the National Academy of Economic Strategies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Institute of Economics, CASS, China Banking Association, China Construction Bank (one of the top ten banks in the world, with branches from New York to Luxembourg and Frankfurt to Tokyo or Sydney), the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (the largest bank in the world) or the Central University of Finance and Economics. HomeCredit, which currently accounts for nearly a third of the Chinese market and is one of the leading members of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, also presented its experience and vision of doing business in China.

An afternoon Cultural Salon on 26th September was originally intended as the culmination of successful Czech participation at this year's Beijing International Book Fair. Eventually, the Salon became an opportunity for much broader and very warm meeting of Chinese visual artists, theater and film representatives, bohemists and translators.

Famous names of contemporary Chinese poets or writers, such as Jidi Majia, Yan Lianke, Liu Zhenyun, Ning Ken, but also the film director and actress Xu Jinglei or the artist and curator A Qin Kunying Straka were the main „magnet“ for the Chinese public and media. Under the kind guidance of Czech sinologist and translator Zuzana Li, the discussions often became an emotional confession and recollection of memories from Bohemia. Chinese celebrities spoke about their first impressions from meeting Czech humor and attitude to life, the inspiration and appreciation to the mastership of Franz Kafka, Jaroslav Seifert, Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal, Ivan Klíma, Miroslav Holub or screenwriter Zdeněk Svěrák. Scholars and teachers of Czech language and literature of new generation have been awarded for their contribution to the Czech-China cultural relations, too. Those were the translator and professor Xu Weizhu or Wang Peng, the long-time educator and co-founder of several Czech language classes in various cities in China. The importance of language understanding and literature for the rapprochement of nations was highlighted by the legendary professor of Czech studies Li Mei in her typically vivid and enthusiastic way.

The Salon was accompanied by a small exhibition of paintings by A Qin Straka and sculptures by artists from the circle of her Czech-China Contemporary Art Museum. The Embassy has also displayed several samples of the Czech design, porcelain and glass pieces by the Ton, Modernista, Preciosa, Moser, Halama and Eckermann companies.

Celebrations of the Czech Statehood Day culminated in an evening reception. Main speeches were given by the former President of the Czech Republic Professor Václav Klaus and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of China in charge of European Affairs and Diplomatic Protocol, H. E. Mr. Qin Gang. Two former ambassadors of the PRC in Prague also took part as well as the representatives of many institutions and companies that have established or maintain economic and trade cooperation during the 70 years of the bilateral diplomatic ties.

The symbolism of friendship between the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic even after the split of Czechoslovakia served as icing on the cake that night. President Klaus had a large share in the fact that the whole process of separation happened peacefully and that further relations remained positive. The Ambassador of Slovakia to China, J. E. Mr. Dušan Bella, therefore invited President Klaus to festively cut the tape at the reconstructed sports field in the compound, which both countries share in Beijing since the split of 1993. Given the exceptional nature of such a civilized division of the country in the world´s history, this small informal ceremony has undoubtedly attracted the Chinese media´s attention and thus positively increased visibility of both our countries to the public.


Czech Statehood Day 2019