Eastern Europe warms up to Uyghurs, Taiwan

Eastern European states of the former Communist block do not react well to the Chinese subversion and even coercion in Europe. Countries like Lithuania are at the forefront of standing firm against Beijing. 

The resistance does not come without a price. After the Lithuanian parliament passed a resolution in May this year and recognized China’s repression of Uyghur Muslims as genocide, Beijing suddenly halted the import of Lithuanian goods. China accused Lithuanian strawberries of being infected by bugs.

This week the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ROC) opened a Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania and is ready to expand exchanges between Taiwan & the EU member state tweets the Ministry in its Twitter account. Beijing has already retaliated against Vilnius. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian described Lithuania’s move as an ‘egregious act that grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs. 

In November, Zdenek Hrib, The Mayor of Prague, took the extraordinary step of welcoming The 7th General Assembly of the World Uyghur Congress into Prague. More than 200 Uyghur delegates from over 25 countries gathered in the Czech capital to elect new leadership for the next three years. A week later, Beijing subsequently accused WUC of being a terrorist organization.

Hrib is no stranger to controversial moves. He has in the past hung the Tibetan flag on the Prague City hall. He has become a vocal defendant of Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong, and the Uyghurs, which has placed him at odds with the Chinese Government.

OPINION: The small Eastern European countries are a moral compass, how the rest of Europe should interact with China. Appeasing China does not advance European interests.