False claims on social media have been saying that Lithuania is offering a special immigration pathway for people from Hong Kong.
Amid a deteriorating political situation in the semi-autonomous city of China, some Hong Kongers are looking to leave the country. Multiple social media posts, widely shared this month, allege that they can come to Lithuania without visas or passports, AFP reports.
One tweet, posted on August 16, says in simplified Chinese: “Whether or not you have a visa or passport, as long as you can reach Lithuania, the Lithuanian government will accept all of you unconditionally, and will provide you with board and lodging and help you travel to other EU countries. You can also stay in Lithuania.”
A spokesperson from Lithuania's Migration Department has told AFP the claim is false and that Hong Kongers must adhere to EU regulations when coming to the country.
Moreover, Lithuania does not provide Hong Kong migrants with housing or assistance to travel to other EU member states, according to the Migration Department.
However, in 2020 a group of Lithuanian lawmakers did draft a resolution, proposing to grant asylum to “Hong Kong people who might face persecution and repressions from China”. The resolution has not led to any actual policy, however.
China imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong last June, prompting a growing number of pro-democracy activists to flee the country amid Beijing's tightening grip.
In 2019, a group of supporters in Vilnius held a rally in support of Hong Kong, while activists back in Hong Kong formed a human chain inspired by the Baltic Way of 1989.
Lithuania has also expressed support for Taiwan and plans to open its diplomatic representation in Vilnius, prompting a hostile reaction from Beijing.