Prague - The Czech Republic will be officially represented in the Olympic Games in China by civil servants and sportsmen.
The only exception is PM Mirek Topolánek. Only a month ago he announced he would boycott the Olympic Games for political reasons, he now says he has accepted the Czech Olympic Committee´s invitation.
But Topolánek skipped the official opening ceremony, as he is scheduled to travel to Beijing next Wednesday.
Civil servants travel alone
Apart from Topolánek, other top politicians are to go to Beijing too, Interior Minister Ivan Langer among them.
Meanwhile, ministers from the Green and Christian Democratic Parties as well as Transport Minister Aleš Řebíček (Civic Democrat) or Industry Minister Martin Říman have said they would not go.
While civil servants are to travel alone, politicians will be accompanied by their families. PM is travelling with his son while Ivan Langer is to spend one week in Beijing with his wife.
Paid by whom?
Being rather ambiguous about his trip to China, it is still unclear who pays for Langer´s trip. He has lately stressed that his trip is private but sometime ago he claimed he was invited by the Czech Olympic Organization (Česká olympijská a.s.). However, the organization has not included Langer in the official list of the invited. Then he claimed he would pay for his trip himself.
Thus Langer may have been invited by one of the official sponsors of the event. Among them are Skanska, Česká pojišťovna bank, Pilsner Urquell brewery, ČEZ energy company, Škoda Auto motorworks, Adidas, Unipetrol chemical company, Zentiva pharmaceutics and GE money Bank.
PM Topolánek stated he is paying for his son´s trip, while his expenses will be covered by the Czech Olympic Committee.