As an expert on protected landscape management, Michal Hošek is used to working in breathtakingly beautiful environments. However when he was sent to northern Georgia in 2012 he had no idea of the ties that would bind him to its pristine nature and warmhearted people. He recently visited Radio Prague’s studio to talk about his work in Georgia, his love for the country and the challenges of developing a tourist infrastructure in a country still largely undiscovered.
In July, a paper was published by Dr. Christopher Balding from the Fulbright University in Vietnam, which looked into the link between Huawei Technologies' employees and the Chinese intelligence and military establishment by analysing a unique dataset of CVs from unsecured Chinese databases and websites run by recruitment platforms leaked last year. In an interview with Czech Radio published on Wednesday, he said that Huawei employees appear to act on behalf of the Chinese interior ministry and army in their work for Huawei.
The Czech branch of the Chinese company Huawei is suspected of collecting sensitive data on officials and businessmen through its employees. This material is allegedly gathered during business meetings and subsequently entered into a central database to which the company’s headquarters in China have access. Czech Radio’s investigative team at Radiožurnál broke the story, citing former Huawei employees and Czech intelligence sources.
Prague’s leadership has for months been trying to remove an article from an agreement signed between the Czech capital and Beijing during the rule of previous coalition, which refers to the One China concept. Mayor Zdeněk Hřib says the agreement should be apolitical and that including the formulation was a mistake. However, on Wednesday, China asked the Prague government not to interfere in Czech-Chinese relations, accusing the Prague’s mayor and government of having behaved “very badly on issues involving China’s national sovereignty and core interests”.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has hailed the EU compromise on nominations for the bloc’s top jobs as a big success for the Visegrad Four grouping which fiercely opposed the system of Spitzen candidates and particularly the candidacy of Frans Timmermans for EC president. But, while the prime minister is cheering, there have been mixed reactions from Czech MEPs, some of whom have criticized the fact that the deal reached does not reflect the outcome of elections to the European Parliament.
After failing to reach a decision during over 18 hours of talks on Sunday and Monday, EU leaders are reconvening in Brussels to try to agree who should lead the bloc’s institutions for the coming five years. Dutch socialist Frans Timmermans, a frontrunner for European Commission president, faces strong opposition from the Czech Republic and fellow Visegrad Four states.
Ahead of the 30th anniversary of China’s crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, Radio Prague spoke to Filip Jirouš, coordinator the China-watching think tank Sinopsis, about the politics behind some of the more controversial aspects of business dealings between the countries. A harsh critic of China’s sweeping Belt and Road Initiative, to which the Czech Republic has signed on, and the main Chinese investment vehicle here, CEFC, he further argues allowing Huawei to roll out the 5G network would be a disaster.