Under the banner "The Olympic Games and Crimes against humanity cannot co-exist in China," the Global Human Rights Torch Relay reached Prague on September 5. It came to the Czech Republic from Germany and will continue to Austria and Slovakia. It will travel around the world over the course of the whole year, from Athens, Greece all the way to Asia. Wherever it goes it will raise awareness of the human rights being trampled in China, and initiate a wave of solidarity with the victims of communist despotism. That's why the torch is accompanied all over the world by victims of the Communist regime's many persecutions, so as to expunge all doubts about what is happening in modern China under the regime.
According to journalists and NGO representatives, the result of the Relay in the Czech Republic was fantastic. It not only drew massive support among home politicians, but even sportsmen, artists and representatives of some cities raised their voices. The part of the relay in Prague was sponsored by Mr. Pavel Bem, Mayor of Prague (capital of Czech republic), and by letters of support from top statesmen around the Republic. Besides the moral authority and the authority of former president Mr. Vaclav Havel, letters of support came from the Minister of Foreign Affairs Count Karel Schwarzenberg, Vice-premier for European affairs Mr. Alexandr Vondra, the Defence Secretary Mrs. Vlasta Parkanova and Minister of Education Mrs. Dana Kuchtova. The torch was also warmly welcomed in Prague by the Chairman of Olympic Watch and former Home Secretary Jan Ruml, who qualified it as "the only true torch of the Olympic Games in Beijing."
On 4.30 P.M. The torch was entrusted to MP Marek Benda, as a representative of the Czech Republic. This took place on National Street, where a communist police force turned a peaceful student demonstration into a bloodbath 18 years ago. When the word about bloodshed on National Street spread, it sparkled a flash of resistance, and that was the impulse for the "velvet revolution", which definitively ended the communist rule in the then Czechoslovakia. The Human Rights Torch was symbolically handed to the Czech Republic by Ms. Xinxia Jiang, who suffered two years in a Shanghai labour camp for distributing materials about the persecution of Falun Gong. Martin Bursik, the vice-premier and Minister of Environment, accompanied by MP Katerina Jacques, swiftly brought the torch to the Old Town Square in the centre of the city. During the ceremony the torch was held by seven-year old Fadu, who lost her father to police repression of Falun Gong in China, 2001. Ms Xinxia came on the stage and recounted a few of her horrible memories from the Communist prison. "They detained me without trial because I was distributing flyers exposing the persecution of Falun Gong. They prevented me from sleeping and prison guards added hallucinogenic drugs to my food. I was forced to watch brainwashing TV programs tens of hours weekly."
Many guests then presented their speeches on the stage: Paraplegic Olympian Eva Kacanu urged unity of Olympians and Paralympians in denouncing human rights abuses in China during the Beijing Olympics. The singer of Monkey Business Matej Ruppert, refused to idealise the times of the socialist regime Czechoslovakia, and spoke against the rise of communism's popularity in the Eastern bloc. The songster Ziggy Horvath called on the people present not to be scared by casual rain-showers: "Is it that Beijing is sending this cold front to us? Come on, the time when communists were bossing wind and rain is over!"
At the closing of the ceremony, gold medallist Lukas Pollert took the torch, and together with actor Jan Budar started the run toward the Chinese Embassy. On the way it was passed to other well-known people like songster Josef Nos. In front of the Embassy the torch "lit" the candles of quiet vigil for victims of torture and oppression in China. Then it was shouldered by ultra-marathon runners, led by the famous Milos Skorpil, who carried it through the night and rain on its 250 km run to Brno Capital of Moravia.
According to organizers, the Czech leg of the Relay was a great success. One of the organizers, Zek Halu from London, commented: "When I talk about how the Torch was received here, they will not believe me. The extraordinary embrace of this action here does not only reflect on the fact that you too have experienced communism, but also to the fact that the Czech people are discerning and kindhearted."