‘Free Zhang Zhan’ protest in front of the Central People’s Government Liaison Office. Photo credit: 立場新聞, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons.

Prague, Sept 3 (CTK) – On Thursday, the Forum 2000 international conference bestowed the award for courage on Chinese journalist and former lawyer Zhang Zhan, who was convicted and imprisoned in her homeland over her articles highlighting the true development of the COVID pandemic in China.

“The award’s aim is to appreciate citizens, groups of citizens and institutions that showed extraordinary civic courage, by putting their responsibility towards a broader community, defence of democracy and the promotion of human rights and freedoms above themselves,” said Forum 2000 Foundation director Jakub Klepal.

The award ceremony was attended by Czech Senate chairman Milos Vystrcil, sociologist and former Slovak prime minister Iveta Radicova, and China Digital Times editor-in-chief and scientist Xiao Qiang, who accepted the award on behalf of Zhang Zhan.

The Forum 2000 international conference of global personalities and thinkers took place in Prague from Wednesday to Friday, with the threat to democracy and reactions to it as the main topic on the agenda.

The conference included a high-level forum on Ukraine following up on the informal talks of EU foreign ministers which Prague hosted on 30-31 August.

The forum was opened by Czech PM Petr Fiala and was also joined online by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The organisers of the conference and the forum on Ukraine presented the Prague manifesto for a free Ukraine, which has already been signed by Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, his Estonian counterpart Urmas Reinsalu and Russian opposition politician Garri Kasparov. The manifesto expressed support for Ukraine’s accession to the EU and offered help in implementing important reforms.

The defeat of the Russian aggression against Ukraine is a necessary precondition for the united, free and peaceful future of Europe and the entire democratic community, the manifesto says.

The annual Forum 2000 conference in Prague was established by former Czech president Vaclav Havel along with writer Elie Wiesel and Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa, with the aim to provide space to personalities from various fields to analyse the challenges of the new millennium.

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