Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) yesterday called for global solidarity with Taiwan and Lithuania, as the nations face intense pressure from the Chinese government.
In a video statement posted on Twitter, IPAC members appealed to democratic countries to stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Lithuania, and raise awareness of China’s retaliatory tactics against nations such as Taiwan and Lithuania.
The statement from the alliance of more than 100 lawmakers from 19 countries and blocs came as Lithuania faces retribution from Beijing for exiting a cooperation framework between China and central and eastern European countries, calling out human rights abuses in Xinjiang and allowing Taiwan to establish a representative office in Vilnius under the name “Taiwan” rather than “Taipei.”
Photo: screen grab from Twitter
The office is to be named the “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania.”
To avoid conflict with China, countries with which Taiwan does not have diplomatic relations tend to call Taiwan’s de facto embassies in their jurisdiction the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Office” or “Taipei Representative Office.”
Lithuania’s decision has angered the Chinese government, which launched various reprisals against the country, such as recalling its ambassador from Vilnius and expelling Lithuania’s ambassador from Beijing.
China has also introduced various trade sanctions, including halting direct freight train services to the Baltic state in retribution.
“The Chinese Government is carrying out a campaign of threats and intimidation against the Lithuanian people,” Lithuanian lawmaker Dovile Sakaliene said in the video that featured IPAC members from 12 legislatures across Europe, and in Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
Sakaliene is a member of Seimas, the Lithuanian parliament, and one of several IPAC members to have been targeted by Chinese retaliation.
“Once again, the Chinese government is using its economic might to coerce smaller states into acquiescence,” said Elisabet Lann, Deputy Mayor for the Christian Democrats in Gothenburg, Sweden.
French Senator Andre Gattolin echoed Lann’s remarks.
“We commend the courage of the Lithuanian and Taiwanese people, and we call for democratic states everywhere to take a united stand against Beijing’s coercive diplomacy,” he said.
IPAC was founded last year as an international coalition to create a coordinated response to China on global security, human rights and trade issues. It has previously initiated movements encouraging governments to back Taiwan’s inclusion at the World Health Assembly, and voiced its support for Australian wine producers who were affected by Chinese trade sanctions.
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