mandag 3. januar 2022

A David nation puts the global Goliath in its place

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is intrinsically totalitarian, belligerent, arbitrary, expansionist and contemptuous of international law. And under Xi Jinping, the CCP has become more despotic, coercive and punitive. With its “tribute nation” approach to weak, vulnerable states, it seeks to influence their sovereign decisions. But now a midget nation, with just 18,500 active military personnel, has set an example for bigger countries on how not to succumb to the efforts of the world’s largest, strongest and longest-surviving autocracy to impose its will through coercive pressure.

Lithuania, with a population smaller than the smallest second-tier Chinese city, has stood up to China by defying its threats and letting Taiwan open a representative office in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. This action was preceded by Lithuania’s withdrawal from the 17+1, which groups 17 countries of East and Central Europe with China to help promote Xi’s neo-imperial Belt and Road Initiative. And after its defense ministry found that Chinese mobile phones had built-in censorship capabilities, Lithuania advised consumers to ditch such devices.

With Lithuania now set to open its own representative office in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, China has ratcheted up its punitive campaign against the Baltic nation of 2.8 million people that prides itself on its role in promoting human rights and democracy. The angry vitriol spewed by the Chinese state media has extended to mocking Lithuania’s puny size.