The consumer finance group Home Credit, owned by the richest Czech Petr Kellner, hired a PR agency to improve the media image of the Communist Party of China and thus influence Czech society in its favour, news site Aktuálně reported on Tuesday, citing documents in its possession.
From April to August 2019, money for some 2,000 hours of work was apparently paid by Home Credit to C&B Reputation Management. The PR agency was hired to “help those who support the Chinese regime in the media and attack its critics” and also organised the creation and activities of an institute called Sinoskop – Institut for Contemporary China, Aktuálně writes. However, the director of the agency, Tomáš Sazima, says that its work was only to “moderate the debate about China and bring in relevant elements”.
In an annual report published last month the Czech counterintelligence service BIS considered the spread of China's influence in the Czech Republic to be one of the greatest security threats.