What will Lithuania's courtship toward US bring? Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
On Wednesday, Lithuania's Foreign Ministry announced that it had recalled its interim chargé d'affaires in China, and all 19 Lithuanian embassy personnel and their dependents had left Beijing.
According to the Financial Times, "three people familiar with the situation" said sensationally that so-called safety concerns and coercion are the main reasons why Lithuania pulled their personnel out. They were quoted as saying that "The Chinese government had demanded Lithuania's remaining diplomats in Beijing hand in their diplomatic IDs to the foreign ministry," which raised concern in Vilnius that "the officials could lose diplomatic immunity." Lithuanian politicians staged a self-directed farce, which aimed to create a false impression that a major power bullies a small country to win sympathy in coordination with anti-China forces.
The Global Times has learned that after China downgraded diplomatic relations with Lithuania to the level of chargé d'affaires, the documents of Lithuanian diplomats in China needed to be changed, and that "handing in their diplomatic IDs" is just a normal process. They described what is a normal process as "coercion," while begging for sympathy from the international community by politicizing and hyping it. This seems to be a calculative move - China is a "huge" country, while Lithuania is so small, so it must be that the powerful China is bullying the weak. Therefore, by claiming that Chinese customs are blocking its exports and hyping that China is diplomatically "coercing" it, Lithuania is coordinating with certain forces to label China as an "economic bully," in an attempt to smear China relentlessly on the world stage.
In fact, China has been strictly abiding by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Diplomats in China have never faced any so-called safety threats. Lithuania cannot find any fault with China, so it can only resort to "safety" issues. But as China's foreign spokesperson pointed out, "The Lithuanian side never mentioned to the Chinese side any issue with regard to its safety." For instance, they worry about cuts to water and electricity - is there any sign? Diplomacy is about reciprocity - shouldn't we worry about Chinese diplomats in Lithuania? The senseless clumsy moves by some Lithuanian politicians only show that they are both politically and morally contradictory.
By finding fault with China to show its loyalty to the US-led "democratic" camp, Lithuania didn't get much benefit. So far, the US has given it nothing but an award of being a "beacon of democracy in the region." Quite the opposite, the US took the opportunity to sell arms to Lithuania and pressured it to abandon a commercial contract with Belarus, completely ignoring that Lithuania might pay huge penalty for this. Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party authority hopes to win a so-called "ally" in Europe, but Taiwan's economy is only equivalent to a province of the Chinese mainland. It does not have any decent "compensation" to offer Lithuania. Taiwan authorities can only coax and trick Lithuania to embark on a dangerous path.
In the past, there was wide criticism of the wrong mentality that "I am reasonable because I am the weak side" on the Chinese internet. No matter if one plays for pathos or pretends to be weak, people make their judgment based on truth and facts. Compared with the powerful US, Osama bin Laden who was behind the plot of the September 11 attacks was the "weak" side. But the weak side is not necessarily the just one. China always insists that all countries are equal, regardless of its size, and won't act in the way of the big bullying the small, but it also won't allow a few countries to "blackmail" the big country through crooked ways. Just as the Chinese foreign ministry has pointed out, the ins and outs of the damaged relations between China and Lithuania are very clear.