PRAGUE - Czech President Milos Zeman has denied that his decision not to award a medal to a Holocaust survivor was because the man's nephew, a Czech government minister, had angered China by meeting the Dalai Lama.
Culture Minister Daniel Herman met the exiled Tibetan leader this week against the wishes of Beijing and Zeman, who has strongly pushed for a closer economic relationship with China.
The drive for Chinese investment has met opposition in a country whose post-communist policies strongly promoted human rights. Once a dissident and then president, the late Vaclav Havel was a friend of the Tibetan Buddhist monk and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
President Zeman acknowledged that plans to award a state medal to George Brady, 88, had been dropped, Finance Minister Andrej Babis was quoted as saying on Saturday.
But Zeman denied the change of plan had anything to do with Brady's nephew, Culture Minister Daniel Herman, meeting the Dalai Lama.