Politicians representing the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) have launched a global call for solidarity with Lithuania and Taiwan as they withstand intense pressure from the Chinese government.
The statement was made in a video featuring IPAC members from twelve legislatures across Europe, Japan and Australia. The legislators call on democratic states to stand ready to provide assistance to the Lithuanian government should it be subject to further punitive measures from Beijing.
Legislators taking part in the video include those who have been personally targeted by Chinese government sanctions in recent months: German Green Party MEP Reinhard Bütikofer, Chair of the European Parliament’s China delegation; former UK Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith MP; Lithuanian MP Dovilė Šakalienė and EPP MEP Miriam Lexman. Others taking part include French En Marche! Senator André Gattolin, Japanese Representative Shiori Yamao and Australian Senator Kimberley Kitching.
The campaign is a response to a number of trade sanctions and threats made against Lithuania following the opening of Taiwan’s Representative Office in Vilnius, with Chinese officials objecting to the Representative Office bearing the name of ‘Taiwan’ rather than ‘Taipei’.
IPAC has previously coordinated parliamentary activities urging governments to support the inclusion of Taiwan at the World Health Assembly and a global call for solidarity with Australian wine producers hit by politically motivated Chinese government trade sanctions.
Speaking in the video, Irish Senator Malcolm Byrne said:
“By bullying Lithuania, Beijing hopes to send a warning to democracies across the world.”
Reinhard Bütikofer MEP said:
“If Lithuania is punished by Beijing, its democratic allies across the world must be ready to assist.”
Representative Shiori Yamao said:
“Taiwan has a vital role to play in the international community, and all states have the right to establish relations with Taiwan as they see fit.”
VIDEO STATEMENT SCRIPT
The Chinese government is carrying out a campaign of threats and intimidation against the Lithuanian people.
Lithuania has boldly supported democracy and human rights, from welcoming those fleeing Hong Kong to calling out abuses in the Uyghur Region.
Lithuania has also dared to leave the Beijing-led ‘17 + 1’ initiative and welcomed the opening of a new Taiwan Representative Office in Vilnius.
Since then, the Chinese government has blocked Lithuanian exports, while the Party-State’s official media has threatened that Lithuania will ‘pay the price’ for its actions.
Once again, the Chinese government is using its economic might to coerce smaller states into acquiescence.
By bullying Lithuania, Beijing hopes to send a warning to democracies across the world.
The only way to stop a bully is to stand up to it.
We call on our governments to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Lithuanian people.
If Lithuania is punished by Beijing, its democratic allies across the world must be ready to assist.
We also state our solidarity with the people of Taiwan.
Taiwan has a vital role to play in the international community, and all states have the right to establish relations with Taiwan as they see fit.
We commend the courage of the Lithuanian and Taiwanese people and call for democratic states everywhere to take a united stand against Beijing’s coercive diplomacy.
It is time to stand with Lithuania, it is time to stand with Taiwan.
VIDEO STATEMENT PARTICIPANTS
Reinhard Bütikofer MEP (Germany, Greens)
Senator Malcolm Byrne (Ireland, Fianna Fáil)
Sir Iain Duncan-Smith MP (UK, Conservative Party)
Uffe Elbaek MP (Denmark, Independent Greens)
Senator Pavel Fischer (Czechia, Independent)
Senator André Gattolin (France, En Marche!)
Senator Kimberley Kitching (Australia, Labor Party)
Elisabet Lann (Sweden, Christian Democrat)
Miriam Lexmann MEP (Slovakia, EPP)
Jan Lipavský MP (Czechia, Pirátská Strana)
Fabian Molina MP (Switzerland, Social Democratic Party)
Simon O’Connor MP (New Zealand, National Party)
Dovilė Šakalienė MP (Lithuania, Social Democratic Party)
Louisa Wall MP (New Zealand, Labour Party)
Representative Shiori Yamao (Japan, Democratic Party for the People)