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2019.10.01 14:00

Chinese anniversary event in Vilnius attracts protest by Tibet supporters

Ignas Jačauskas, BNS2019.10.01 14:00

A protest of Tibet supporters greeted guests at the Chinese Embassy's reception in Vilnius on Monday night celebrating the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China.

The protesters held posters denouncing “China's terror” and expressing support for Tibet.

Vytis Vidūnas, director of the organisation Tibeto Namai (House of Tibet), said the protesters wanted to remind the guests that “this is a celebration of the regime and there are still many human rights abuses in China”.

The reception in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Vilnius began with the the national anthems of Lithuania and China.

The guests at the event included Lithuania-based diplomats of Japan, Italy, Spain, Finland, Georgia, Germany and other countries as well as Lithuanian politicians, military and government officials.

One of the politicians, Kęstutis Glaveckas who chairs the Lithuanian parliament's group for Interparliamentary relations with China, commented that Lithuanian leaders paid visits to China and maintained trade relations. China is “a big country as worthy of respect as other states,” Glaveckas said.

“Love or no love is not a good principle in politics; we have to look for common ground and cooperate,” he noted.

Deividas Matulionis, the government's vice-chancellor who also attended the event, said that there was nothing new about the criticism directed at China and that celebrating the establishment of the communist republic was “an internal affair”.

“That event has been celebrated for years. The question is whether (China) is under any sanctions. That is the answer,” he told reporters.

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius said last week that the city's administration would not grant a permit to organise a fireworks display on Tuesday to celebrate the anniversary of the People's Republic.

Protesters plan to stage another protest by the pedestrian White Bridge in Vilnius on Tuesday to pay tribute to “victims of the communist terror in China”.