“Lithuania is in the line of fire for standing up to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on matters of principle. The question that remains is whether the rest of Europe will back its ally.

“In November, the Lithuanian government permitted the Republic of China to open a representative office in Vilnius under the name ‘Taiwanese,’ which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has declared is in direct violation of the One China principle that it has thrust on the rest of the world. This should come as no surprise…

“The PRC’s trade relationship with Lithuania never has been substantial. Only about 1 percent of Lithuanians exports went to China. And while this undoubtedly has made it easier for Lithuania to take a principled stand in defense of Taiwanese political sovereignty, for Beijing it ultimately meant that simply cutting trade ties would not be a sufficient punishment for Lithuania’s disobedience. The PRC, therefore, also turned to its business partners in Europe — namely, the German auto parts manufacturer Continental AG — to apply pressure on the Lithuanian economy.

“Over the past few months, China has halted freight trains into Lithuania, cut credit limits, and there have even been reports of Lithuanian exporters being unable to clear Chinese customs for their goods, citing a glitch that supposedly removed Lithuania from the Chinese customs registry.

“Lithuania has a history of standing up against powerful authoritarian forces. From the post-World War I ‘Freedom Struggles’ against the Bolsheviks, to becoming the first Soviet state to declare independence from the USSR in 1990, democratic ideals and dreams of political sovereignty at home and abroad are deeply ingrained in the democratic Lithuania’s DNA.

The PRC has made no secret of its intentions. China wants to sweep Lithuania into ‘the garbage bin of history,’ as conveyed by the Global Times, the CCP’s English propaganda outlet.

“China’s target is not just Lithuania, but the world. This is the precedent that the PRC is trying to set, and it is the responsibility of the Transatlantic partnership to ensure that this behavior of economic coercion and blackmail will not prevail.”

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