Abstract

Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic has been discussed as strengthening nationalist as opposed to globalist forces around the world. While this may be the case in some countries, in others we can observe an increasing political polarization between the “globalists” and “nationalists” rather than a unification against an “outside enemy.” The article presents a case study of the Czech Republic, which has long had a turbulent relationship with China. We show how the coronavirus pandemic has escalated the polarization of Czech politics, in which China has become a symbol of the major political fault line. We argue, first, that the vastly different attitudes of Czech officials vis-à-vis China are not the result of their changing opinions in time. Instead, the electoral reshufflings elevate politicians with significantly different views of China. Second, we argue that although the political division may today appear to be symbolized by its approach toward the Communist legacy, the division actually goes to the 19th-century debate about the Czech national identity. Eventually, we end up with a discussion on how the image of China in a faraway country is being formed to a large extent following the domestic political dynamics rather than being driven by the significantly more powerful China.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1015-6607
Print ISSN
1680-2012
Pages
pp. 35-63
Launched on MUSE
2021-06-08
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.