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Czech Expo pavilion staff complain about Chinese bureaucracy

2010. 19 May

by CTK
( The staff of the Czech pavilion at Expo 2010 are among those complaining about the conditions hampering national staffers' work at the world exhibition, and Czech commissioner Pavel Stehlik has depicted the troubles in his letter to the organisers, he told CTK Tuesday.

Stehlik, Czech general commissioner for Expo 2010 in Shanghai, said the Czech pavilion was even threatened with closure over bureaucracy and problems with visas for its staff.

The Chinese have finally extended the Czech visas but obstacles to the pavilion's smooth operation persist, Stehlik said.

He said he has mentioned the problems in a letter to the committee of the exhibitors, of which he is a member, and has also informed the Expo organisers.

The letter has been published on today.

Stehlik said in the morning the pavilions' staff have to wait in long, often up-to-hour-long queues before entering the exhibition complex where they work for another up to 12 hours.

Stehlik says he understands the organisers' effort to ensure security but he calls for the entrance procedure to be sped up.

On entry, everyone undergoes a tough check, including a personal search. Bringing in beverages from outside is not permitted, Stehlik said.

Supplies can be transferred to pavilions only at night, which requires the presence of the pavilion staff, in addition to their excessive work burden during the opening hours.

The Czech staff's cars, like the cars of their counterparts from other national pavilions, can park at the pavilion only at night. "However, I stay in the pavilion during days," Stehlik objected.

"I received signs of dissatisfaction also from other pavilions. As a member of the committee I've written the letter, therefore," Stehlik said.

In his letter he also points to the lack of rules concerning urgent repairs in individual pavilions.

The Czech Republic has earmarked half a billion crowns for its presentation at Expo 2010 that started about two weeks ago.

Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer was considering attending the Czech Day at Expo on Monday, but he dropped the plan. According to daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD), Chinese leaders did not want to meet Fischer due to his active approach to the Czech parliament's previous resolution criticising China for violating human rights in Tibet.

Czech government spokesman Roman Prorok told CTK that Fischer was considering visiting Expo if bilateral negotiations were staged. This did not happen, therefore he scrapped the plan, Prorok said.

He said he would not further comment on MfD's information.

Copyright 2009 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.