Since its independence in 1993, the Czech Republic has experienced remarkable changes in its official relations with China. The first Czech president, Václav Havel, a dissident turned elected politician, regularly met with the Dalai Lama and openly criticized Beijing for its human rights violations. In stark contrast, current Czech president Miloš Zeman has called for a more pragmatic approach.
This approach has been formed within the narrative of a promising cooperation with China. In all probability, the rendering of this positive picture was also behind the decision of Chinese investments in the Czech media space (the first wave began in 2015, subsequently scaled up in 2020, but was withdrawn in 2021). Unsurprisingly, a 2018 Czech policy paper states that “the transfer of ownership of the media (or part of it) to a Chinese company effectively eliminates any criticism of China.”