Sunday, 4 December 2022

CNN: There is an Illegal Chinese Police Station in Zagreb

December 4, 2022 - Chinese police officers were seen on a joint patrol with their Croatian colleagues on the streets of the capital Zagreb in July. According to CNN, Chinese police stations were set up across Europe, including Croatia.

As Poslovni / CNN reported, Beijing has set up more than 100 so-called overseas police stations worldwide, including in Croatia, to monitor, harass, and in some cases, return Chinese nationals living in exile.

At the same time, writes CNN, the Chinese are using bilateral security agreements concluded with countries in Europe and Africa to gain a broad international presence.

Madrid-based human rights group Safeguard Defenders has found evidence that China operates 48 additional police stations abroad since the group first revealed the existence of 54 such stations in September.

A new report called "Patrol and Persuade" focuses on the scale of the network and examines the role that joint police initiatives between China and several European countries, including Italy, Croatia, Serbia, and Romania, have played in the expansion of China's overseas outposts.

Among the new claims made by the group is that a Chinese national was forced to return home by operatives working undercover at a Chinese overseas police station in the suburbs of Paris, recruited specifically for the purpose, in addition to earlier revelations that two other Chinese were forcibly returned from Europe – one in Serbia, the other in Spain.

China struck agreements on joint police patrols with Croatia and Serbia between 2018 and 2019 as part of the nation's growing strategic influence as outlined in China's foreign policy priorities, CNN reports.

Chinese police officers were seen on a joint patrol with their Croatian colleagues on the streets of the capital Zagreb in July of this year.

A Zagreb police official interviewed by the Chinese news agency Xinhua said that patrols are crucial for "protection and attracting foreign tourists."

A 2019 Reuters report said Chinese police officers joined Serbian police on patrol in Belgrade to help deal with the influx of Chinese tourists.

One Serbian official said the Chinese had no authority to make the arrests.

Safeguard Defenders, which searches publicly available official Chinese documents for evidence of human rights abuses, said it had identified four different police jurisdictions of China's Ministry of Public Security active in at least 53 countries, spanning all four corners of the world, allegedly to help Chinese expatriates with their needs abroad.

The NGO claims Italy hosted 11 Chinese police stations, including in Venice and Prato, near Florence.

Beijing has denied having an undeclared police force outside its territory, and its Foreign Ministry told CNN in November: “We hope the relevant parties will stop exaggerating to create tensions. Using this as an excuse to smear China is unacceptable.”

China has argued that the facilities are administrative centers set up to help Chinese expatriates with tasks such as renewing their driver's licenses.

China also said the offices are a response to the covid-19 pandemic, which has left many citizens in other countries unable to renew their identity documents.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the overseas stations are staffed by volunteers, but in the meantime, it has emerged that in some cases, they are people employed on multi-year contracts.

According to CNN, unreported consular activities outside of a country's official diplomatic missions are highly unusual and illegal unless the host country has given its express consent.

The suggestion that there is widespread repression of Chinese citizens in foreign countries comes at a crucial time for a nation grappling with its own unrest at home, amid fatigue from the country's restrictive Covid-19 policies as leader Xi Jinping's third term in power begins, CNN reports.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated News section.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Croatian and Chinese Parliament Speakers: China Active in Efforts to Stop War in Ukraine

ZAGREB, 22 March 2022 - China has been involved in activities and initiatives to help stop the war in Ukraine and prevent a huge humanitarian crisis, Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Tuesday after his video-conference with Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

According to a press release issued by the Croatian parliament, China supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and Li informed the Sabor Speaker about his country's activities aimed at stopping the conflicts and halting the humanitarian crisis.

Jandroković was quoted as saying that Croatia unequivocally supports the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and he highlighted the importance of the withdrawal of Russia's forces from the country.

"Croatia respects the strategic, economic and foreign affairs-related role of China and the influence of that country on peace and stability in the world," said Jandroković.

The two parliaments' speakers agreed that the completion of Pelješac Bridge, which is expected to be inaugurated this summer, is a symbol of successful cooperation between Croatia and China whose companies are engaged in the construction of the bridge.

Li pointed out Croatia as the first European Union member state to hire a Chinese company to implement an EU-funded project of strategic infrastructure. 

He described Croatia as one of China's greatest friends in the European Union.

Jandroković said that Croatia also attaches great importance to efforts to boost its economic relations with China, and in this context he mentioned the example of the Senj wind park.

During the talks, the two officials also commented on Croatian companies such as Rimac Automobili, INFOBIP, Dok-ing and Končar that do business on the Chinese market.

Jandroković expressed hope that upon the end of the COVID-19 pandemic Chinese visitors would start arriving in Croatia again.

Both officials expressed an interest in the strengthening of political and economic cooperation and highlighted the importance of parliamentary diplomacy and cooperation within the China+16 and the Road and Belt Initiative.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Croatian Bolts Producer Happy With EC's Anti-Dumping Duties On From China

ZAGREB, 17 Feb 2022 - The DIV Group, a leading Croatian manufacturer of steel products, on Thursday welcomed the European Commission's decision to impose definitive anti-dumping duties on imports of certain iron or steel fasteners originating in China.

Following the European Commission's publication of the relevant regulation in the Official Journal, the Zagreb-based group says that the anti-dumping duties will pave the way for fair competition and create an opportunity for the group to double its exports of standard bolts to above 60 million euros annually.

This will also allow further investment of €100 million annually, DIV said.

DIV recalled that the Commission initiated an investigation following a complaint lodged by the European Industrial Fasteners Institute on behalf of producers representing more than 25% of the total Union production of iron or steel fasteners about the dumped imports.

The complaint contained evidence of dumping and of resulting material injury that was sufficient to
justify the initiation of the investigation.

As a result of the investigation, the EC  published the regulation "imposing a definitive anti-dumping duty on imports of certain iron or steel fasteners originating in the People’s Republic of China."

DIV said that a similar regulation had been in force in 2013 and at the time the group had invested €55 million in its plants in the town of Knin and created about 500 jobs. The regulation was rescinded in 2016.

The new regulation is in place after six years of our efforts to maintain our status of a viable producer despite unfair competition, DIV said.

According to information on DIV's website, the Knin branch of DIV GROUP Ltd. is the largest bolt factory in the European Union, and its products are delivered to European countries, America and South Africa.

In Knin, the company has 23 production lines, 14 thread-rolling lines, 3 lines for the heat treatment of screw material with a capacity of 3 tons per hour each, 2 lines for surface protection by galvanizing with a capacity of about 5 tons per hour, and a semi-automatic packaging of bolts with secured transport communication by rail and road, according to DIV's website.

For more, check out our business section.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Borrell Calls for Vigilance due to Emerging New Coronavirus Strains

ZAGREB, 10 July 2021 - There is a light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel, but we must stay vigilant due to emerging new variants, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell said in Dubrovnik on Saturday and called for cooperation with Russia and China.

We are reaching the end of the tunnel, but the pandemic is still raging, especially in South America, Africa and India. We must stay vigilant because new strains are emerging, said Borrell at the 14th edition of the ministerial forum in Dubrovnik. This year's gathering focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on geopolitical relations and the world economy.

We still have a long battle ahead of us, said the chief of European diplomacy, adding that one the consequences of the pandemic will be an increasingly insecure, unequal and less free world.

Inequality will be visible, he said, not only between countries but also within each individual country.

The decisive factor for overcoming the pandemic are vaccines without which we cannot win this battle, Borrell said.

There was a lot of division at the international level, there was a lack of cooperation, but the scientific world worked hard and produced the vaccines in a very short time, Borrell said.

China increasingly intrusive, but cooperation necessary

Certainly, we need to do more, but there is one positive aspect. The EU is the only region in the world that has vaccinated its population and at the same exports the vaccine to other countries and donates to the COVAX programme, Borrell underscored.

He accused Russia and China of using vaccines to achieve their interests and warned that we had to be aware of that.

Those countries are using vaccine diplomacy, we must be aware of that, he said.

He pointed out that it was important how the EU would position itself in the triangle with the US and China, recalling that China is recording amazing economic development and that they received a very defiant message from President Xi Jinping from Beijing that foreign forces will face broken heads if they try to bully or oppress China.

(China) is becoming increasingly intrusive, cooperation with it is becoming more difficult, Borrell said.

However, he added there had to be cooperation with China in many areas and that the economic potential was still very large.

As much as 25% of global economic growth this year is from China, Borrell said, adding that in the the United States there are comments that China is a competitor, rival and partner.

He thinks that the competition between China and the US would shape the world in the decades to come, and the EU had to set a clear direction.

We share history, political and economic system with the US. We will always be close to Washington, but we must view the world taking into account our own interests, said Borrell, stressing that the dialogue between the EU and American President Joe Biden's administration on China was real, positive and constructive.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Zagreb in Chinese Lonely Planet: Museums, Art, Parks Presented to China

March 13, 2021 – On the other side of the world, Croatia's capital is well-known as the "city of museums," which is precisely how the author Si Ma Yan presented Zagreb in Chinese Lonely Planet's article.

The Chinese edition of Lonely Planet, one of the most influential world tourist guides, published a guide about Zagreb in its March edition. As reported by Franka Gulin, Croatian National Tourist Board director in China, the guide nicely and vividly brings all the information about Zagreb and is primarily intended for culture, art, and local food lovers.

"Although the realization of tourist trips from distant countries is significantly difficult in these circumstances, publishing a guide about Zagreb maintains visibility and promotion of our capital in China, but also Croatia as a whole," said Croatian National Tourist Board director Kristjan Staničić.

Namely, travelers from China immensely appreciate recognizable Croatia's tourist products, such as culture, nature, and eno-gastronomy.

As Zagreb is known in China as a "city of museums," the guide's author Si Ma Yan emphasizes museums, galleries, murals, facades, and other street art forms on Zagreb's streets. The author also recommends visiting interesting antique shops and buying antique jewelry in numerous retro vintage shops and charming jewelry workshops. When it comes to accommodation, options are proposed for different categories of travelers, from the luxury segment to travelers on a smaller budget. The guide especially emphasizes that Zagreb is ideal for walks in beautiful parks, and Croatia is also famous as a filming destination.


Zagreb in Chinese Lonely Planet / Source: Croatian National Tourist Board

"After Lonely Planet declared Zagreb the Best in Europe in 2017, this is the second major recognition for our city by this world-renowned tourist guide. We are honored that Zagreb was presented to the Chinese market through a mini urban guide. We hope that, despite the demanding times, it will contribute to the additional positioning of our capital in the Chinese market. Guests from China have always been important for Zagreb, and publishing such an urban guide confirms how important the Croatian capital is in China," said the Zagreb Tourist Board director Martina Bienenfeld.

Besides, Franka Gulin, together with the Croatian Ambassador to China Dari Mihelin, paid an official visit to the Chinese province of Chongqing, where they met with representatives of departments and business entities for culture and tourism. Chongqing Municipality is one of China's fastest-growing regions in economy, culture, and tourism, with a population of about 40 million. Their airport in pre-COVID times was well connected to all the leading airports around the world, and the area was in constant growth in outbound travel.

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Friday, 5 March 2021

Croatia on Chinese Hainan Television Attracted 60 Million Viewers

March 5, 2021 – An episode entirely dedicated to Croatia on Chinese Hainan Television attracted about 60 million viewers in its first broadcast.

As reported by Franka Gulin, Croatian National Tourist Board director in China, an episode entirely dedicated to Croatia was broadcast on Chinese Hainan TV, which about 700 million viewers watch.

The episode aired as part of the seventh season of Connections, a popular mosaic TV show that has been airing since 2016. TV presenter Mei Qing hosts cultural experts and ambassadors to the People's Republic of China from countries around the world.

"Broadcasting the show about Croatia, which was watched by about 60 million viewers in the first broadcast, is a great opportunity to promote our country on the Chinese market. The show talked about the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, the Šibenik International Children's Festival, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, and Zadar, a city-friend with the Chinese tropical paradise Sanya. We also touched on football and pianist Maksim Mrvica, and the hosts surprised us with great pronunciations of Croatian names and general knowledge about Croatia," said Gulin.

Along with the Croatian ambassador to the People's Republic of China, Dario Mihelin, Gulin also participated in filming a show about Croatia.

Hainan TV is a large regional media house owned by the Hainan Broadcasting Group based on China's largest island of Hainan. It broadcasts its program on eight channels and satellite television, while a good part of the programs and live streams are available online.

Considering that the show is broadcast within the entire network of the mentioned television and abroad, as well as within the platforms of Hong Kong International Satellite TV, iQiyi, Tencent, TravelNet, and the Himalayas, the ratings are significantly higher than the official figures. Therefore, it is possible that even more than 60 million people saw the show about Croatia.

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Saturday, 30 January 2021

New Chinese Shipment of Coronavirus Protective Gear Arrives in Croatia

ZAGREB, 30 January, 2021 - The ship Xin Tian Jin arrived in the northern Adriatic port of Rijeka on Saturday with 88 tonnes of protective gear from China, which will be used in further efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, the Croatian government said.

The shipment includes 151,200 swab kits, 500,000 FFP3 face masks and 480,000 protective suits. As in previous cases, the protective gear was purchased from the Chinese companies MEHECO and Sinopharm.

The value of today's shipment is $1,982,560.

Next week, the equipment will transported to the civil protection logistics centre in Jastrebarsko, about 30 kilometres southwest of Zagreb, from where it will be distributed to the coronavirus response authorities.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Coronavirus Croatia: Outbreak Significantly Reduces Easter Bookings

March 3, 2020 - Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, bookings for Easter in Croatia have been significantly reduced. However, some companies have figured out how to reduce cancellations of booked travel arrangements. They have decided to give tourists the option of cancelling their trip without penalty up two or three days before their scheduled arrival.

*Follow this article for live updates and this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. An archive of updates can be found hereContact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

Familiar Words: No Reason to Panic in Croatia

On the other hand, tourism experts say that Croatia has no reason to panic according to Martina Pauček Šljivak/Index on March 3, 2020. Although everyone is keeping a close eye on what happens and how the situation develops, they say that the reduced number of Easter bookings is not necessarily cause for concern. But they added that the number of bookings is worse than last year. Nevertheless, they claim that those numbers should not be compared to last year, because these are two different scenarios.

Tomislav Fain, president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies, told Index that Easter bookings were slow and not going at the pace they went last year. However, he also said that some companies have made key decisions which have currently reduced the cancellations of travel arrangements for Croatia.

Some Croatia Partners Offer Last Minute Cancellations

"The bookings we have received have still not been cancelled to a large extent, most went to partners with reduced travel cancellation options. Some companies have thus decided to give clients the option of cancelling their trips even two to three days before their planned arrival to Croatia without having to pay a cancellation fee. We are all watching what is happening, both for our guests and us. We are all hoping that this situation will stabilize and that everyone will continue to travel normally. But the fact is that we do not have any new reservations for Easter," Fain told Index.

Index also spoke with Veljko Ostojić, director of the Croatian Tourism Association, who said that because of the coronavirus outbreak, some tour groups from Italy had cancelled their arrivals in Croatia for Easter. Some events in Croatia have also been cancelled, he revealed to Index.



Bookings from Italy Down Significantly

"Easter bookings are down significantly, and inquiries have been reduced. But Easter falls on April 12 this year and all sorts of things are possible. So, if things get under control, we can expect the infected to be healthy within the next few days, so it's too early to assess what kind of results there will be for Easter," Ostojić added.

Last year, he said, there were more bookings at this time of year, but he also added that it was difficult to compare a normal year to this specific situation.

"Easter can be great and it can be bad, now people are monitoring the coronavirus developments in Croatia, and in their own countries. I think we have no reason to panic regarding this topic, and even if Easter is worse than last year, nothing dramatic will happen here. The four summer months are the most important to us and possibly some lost arrivals can be made up for later. There is no reason to panic," Ostojić concluded, echoing a familiar phrase.

Coronavirus Causes Cancellations of March Group Bookings

Croatian Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli recently said that Croatian tourism is not feeling the downside of coronavirus outbreak for the time being, but that bookings have slowed down slightly, which he said was normal and to be expected. He added that the largest cancellations are currently happening in the business and congress tourism segment for March.

"The further spread of coronavirus in Croatia and the rest of Europe is difficult to project, but it is expected that it will have an impact on the first quarter's tourism results, though not too much, since the tourist turnover is normally lower in that quarter and the share of total annual revenue from tourism is about five percent," Cappelli assessed at a previous government meeting.


2000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia in February 2020, which was 60 percent less than 2019 | Index

2000 Chinese Tourists in February 2020: Down 60 Percent

He stated that there are currently about 24.5 thousand tourists in Croatia, which is similar to last year, and that the decline is mostly coming from Asian markets, especially from China, whose tourists numbered about two thousand, or 60 percent less in February than in the same month last year. However, in January this year there were almost four thousand or 70 percent more. Cappelli says tourism numbers are now about zero from that market compared to last year's results at the same time.

He also pointed out that in relation to the total tourist physical and financial traffic in the first three months of this year, due to the situation with the virus, they do not expect any major negative impact, except for the already mentioned segment of business and congress tourism, which happens in March.

Easter Earlier in 2020: True Tourist Picture Expected in May

"Easter is earlier this year, at the beginning of April, and when the holiday falls earlier it never provides a true picture of what will happen in the tourist season. This year, the real picture will be only be seen around the May holidays, when the largest number of Italian tourists arrive. Like Slovenes and Germans, they merge those holidays with others in their countries," added Cappelli.

He also noted that the last two years has seen a trend of last-minute bookings in May for the summer peak season, and for which he does not currently show any cancellations in Croatia. However, even in some of the major markets, like Germany and Great Britain, there has been a steady demand recorded with low growth compared to the same period in 2019.

Follow our Travel page for updates on Croatia tourism forecasts and statistics for 2020. The website for the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies can be found here, the Croatian Tourism Association here and the Croatia Ministry of Tourism here.

*Follow this article for live updates and this page for updates from Total Croatia News on the coronavirus in Croatia. An archive of updates can be found hereContact numbers for epidemiologists, travel advisories and measures for preventing the spread of the coronavirus can be found here.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Split Hospital Quarantines Potential Coronavirus Patient: Not Infected

A man has been quarantined at the Split KBC hospital as a precautionary measure while he is tested for the coronavirus. "The patient is isolated at the Infectious Diseases Clinic; but the coronavirus diagnosis has not yet been confirmed," the hospital reported to Dalmatinski portal on February 2, 2020. 

*UPDATE February 3, 2020 at 19:10 CET: Further coronavirus test results have confirmed the patient does not have the coronavirus.

Split Crisis Staff Doctors for the Prevention and Control of Infections held a press conference today February 3, 2020 at 13:00 CET regarding the case.The tests finding were sent to the Clinic for Infectology Fran Mihaljevic in Zagreb. They should know today whether his symptoms are due to a coronavirus infection or if they are caused by something else.  More information here

*DAILY UPDATES: Total Croatia News provides LIVE daily updates on the coronavirus epidemic here. An archive of articles can be found here.

Split Patent in Quarantine Awaiting Test Results

The diagnosis is not yet known, but given that he has recently been to China, he has been isolated as a preventive measure. All necessary examinations have been performed, and he will remain separate from the other patients until the results of the findings.

He is currently in the infectious ward in Split. In the event of a positive finding, he will be transferred to the Zagreb hospital Dr. Fran Mihaljević.

Osijek Patient Does Not Have Coronavirus

Subsequent coronavirus tests showed that the 26-year-old Đakovo resident hospitalized in Osijek KBC after returning from China did not contract the coronavirus, according to Index on February 2, 2020.

Alemka Markotić, Director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic Fran Mihaljević, confirmed for the HRT Dnevnik that the tests on a patient in isolation in Osijek for suspected coronavirus showed that the patient did not suffer from the virus.

Test Findings Sent to Center in Berlin

"Yesterday and today we worked on testing blood and the upper respiratory tract. In one test, some of these samples were slightly positive and the other, which we consider to be affirmative, was completely negative both yesterday and today. We are obliged to send a sample for further confirmation to reference centers. The patient is not coughing and is in good general condition. He will probably be under some medical supervision unless the development of the disease is seen," said Markotić.

She confirmed that their clinic had received a test from Berlin three days ago. She explained that coronavirus is quite similar in behavior and molecular characteristics to SARS, but it also differs in many ways and is apparently spreading much faster. She said that it was difficult to distinguish symptoms from the flu, but that coronavirus complicates pneumonia, while that is not the case with flu.

Expects That Coronavirus Will Last Until Spring

Asked if she knew how long the epidemic would last, she replied that she did not know the answer to that question, adding that the virus was spreading by droplet and that it was expected that with the onset of spring the virus should disappear.

A 26-year-old Đakovo resident was hospitalized in Osijek KBC on Saturday on the tenth day after his return from China and he reported a temperature of 38 degrees, after which he was isolated. The rules of the profession dictate that every patient who comes from China must be treated in this manner and have respiratory problems or fever for two to ten days.

*DAILY UPDATES: Total Croatia News provides LIVE daily updates on the coronavirus epidemic here. An archive of articles can be found here.


Sunday, 2 February 2020

Croatia Patient Does Not Have Coronavirus: Osijek Test Results

Good news from Osijek: A patient who spent five days in quarantine at the Osijek Hospital in Croatia was not infected with the coronavirus.

*DAILY UPDATES: Total Croatia News provides LIVE daily updates on the coronavirus epidemic here. An archive of articles can be found here.

Young Croatia Man Arrived From Shanghai on January 20: Reported High Fever

The young man returned from Shanghai on January 20 and complained to doctors having a fever on Saturday. When findings for the initial tests turned out to be positive for the coronavirus, concern grew, according to Novi List on February 2, 2020.

The results of the latest tests performed by Osijek doctors showed that the 26-year-old Đakovo patient is not infected with coronavirus, according to HRT on February 2, 2020. This young man spent five days quarantined in a hospital in Osijek, because doctors suspected that he was infected with the dangerous virus that is causing concern around the whole world

At the moment, a third and final test is pending.

Patient's Temperature Rose to 38 Degrees Celsius: Isolated at Osijek Hospital For Tests

Ljiljana Perić, Head of the Clinic for Infectious Diseases at KBC Osijek informed the public during the afternoon about what was happening in the Osijek case:

"Ten days after returning from China, the patient's body temperature rose to 38 degrees Celsius and we responded according to our ostandard protocol. Our colleagues from family practice announced that they were sending him to the hospital where we received and isolated him. The patient is well, does not have temperature, is does not have any other problems. He is still isolated. Provided that the patient is well, we plan to release him home if the final test is negative," she explained.

*DAILY UPDATES: Total Croatia News provides LIVE daily updates on the coronavirus epidemic here. An archive of articles can be found here.


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