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EVENTS

NOV. 20:

A Czechoslovak Founding Father in China: An Account of the November 1918 Visit by Czechoslovakia’s Milan Rastislav Štefánik

RASBJ Members are invited to register for an exclusive November 20th event commemorating  astronomer, aviator, diplomat, and politician Milan Rastislav Štefánik at the Embassy of the Slovak Republic.

WHAT: A lecture and exhibition (INVITATION IS OPEN TO RASBJ MEMBERS IN GOOD STANDING; SPACES ARE LIMITED)

WHEN: Tues. November 20 beginning at 7:00 PM

WHERE: Ambassador's Residence,  located by the East Gate of the Embassy of the Slovak Republic on Jianhua Road 建华路  (opposite the Consular Section of the Embassy of Singapore/新加坡大使馆签证处对面 – click here for Google Mapshere for Baidu Map and here for Baidu "Street View“). Please note that entry via the West Gate (located on Ritan Lu/日坛路) will not be possible, we kindly ask all participants to enter via the East Gate only.

HOW MUCH: free to confirmed participants only. Spaces are limited, and confirmations will be based on the time when your RSVP was received. Please RSVP soon to be confirmed. 

RSVP: Email emb.beijing@mzv.sk and cc: lukas.gajdos@mzv.sk and MENTION YOU ARE AN RASBJ MEMBER. And please write “Nov 20 Stefanik” in the subject header.

DON'T FORGET TO BRING YOUR PASSPORT OR OTHER FORM OF PHOTO ID TO ENTER THE EMBASSY 

MORE ABOUT THE EVENT: 

Slovak-born Milan Rastislav Štefánik (1880-1919) lived many lives - as an astronomer, he was in charge of the Janssen Observatory on Mont Blanc and participated in scientific expeditions to a number of far-flung places including North Africa, Central Asia, Ecuador, the Galapagos, and Tahiti. As an aviator and soldier, he fought with the French Air Force and was responsible for the creation of the Czecho-Slovak Legion. As a diplomat and leading member of the Czecho-Slovak National Council, he was instrumental in winning support among the Entente Powers, especially France, for the idea of independent Czechoslovakia. As a politician, he was one of the three co-founders of Czechoslovakia and became its first Minister of War. It was in this capacity that following the outbreak of the Russian Civil War, the involvement of Czecho-Slovak troops therein, and the creation of Czechoslovakia on 28 October 1918, while en-route from Japan to Siberia, Štefánik made a brief sojourn in China in November 1918.

This lecture explores Štefánik’s brief visit, drawing on a number of sources from the Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry and military archives, press, and various memoirs of first-hand witnesses to provide a detailed account of his stay in Harbin and meetings with Li Chia Ao (Li Jia’ao, 李家鏊, 1859-1926), the daoyin (道尹, often translated as ‘intendant’) of the three north-eastern provinces and Commissioner for Foreign Affairs for Harbin, who later became Minister of the Embassy of the Republic of China in the Soviet Union. The historical significance of this meeting – the very first between a high-ranking Czechoslovak and Chinese officials - has thus far largely been overlooked and should be commemorated, especially in the year of the 100thanniversary of Štefánik’s visit. The lecture concludes with a brief overview of the aftermath of the visit, including the presence of Czechoslovak legionnaires, Czechoslovak Consulate, and the wider Czechoslovak community in Harbin.

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