Growing anger over Chinese sanctions against Lithuania
About half a year after Lithuania's decision to allow a Taiwanese diplomatic mission to open in Vilnius, the country's economy is suffering the consequences of sanctions by Beijing. The EU has launched proceedings before the WTO over the matter. In Lithuania, resentment is growing, especially among business people and opposition politicians. The national press is divided.
Bravado with painful consequences
Lithuania will pay for its mistake, political scientist Kęstutis Girnius writes in Delfi:
“One wonders how much the Lithuanian economy will suffer from the Chinese sanctions, and what effect the EU Commission's proceedings at the WTO will have. ... Foreign Minister Landsbergis, who is always (unrealistically) optimistic, explains that such a procedure demonstrates the EU's unity and solidarity. ... When Lithuania challenged China with its provocation without consulting its partners, it severely tarnished its reputation. It hoped that China would swallow the insult and that Lithuania's European partners would offer their strong support. Both expectations were wrong, and Lithuania will suffer the effects of its ill-considered bravado for a long time to come.”
German business a bad role model
The business world's fear of Beijing is a threat to democracy, says LRT:
“Lithuanian companies under pressure from China unfortunately do not cooperate with Lithuanian and European institutions that are collecting information about the illegal sanctions. But what are we asking of the businessmen of a small state when even the business giants and associations in Germany are not cooperating on this issue? They're all afraid. ... Aren't the companies that pay taxes in Lithuania and support civil society, but are actually in Beijing's pocket and dependent on its mood swings, a danger to our democracy and independence? It's not for nothing that people say: 'The best ambassador for China is German business'.”