TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Lithuanian Parliamentarian Matas Maldeikis on Christmas Eve posted a photo of his country's version of "Tank Man" to show solidarity with Taiwan as both countries face increasing pressure from China.
On Twitter, Maldeikis uploaded a black-and-white photo of a man standing in front of a tank during the January Events of 1991, when Soviet troops were sent into Lithuania in a bid to reannex the country. The MP wrote that like Taiwanese, Lithuanians are "unafraid to stand up to oppressors, whatever the risks."
Maldeikis recalled how Lithuanians "stood up for democracy 30 years ago" and vowed that "we're not going to sit back down." The lawmaker then took a jab at China's censorship of photos of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre and remarked, "This is a photo that Beijing cannot delete," including the hashtags "#StandWithHongKong, #StandWithTaiwan, and #NeverForget."
On Jan. 13, the peak of violence during the January Events, Soviet troops fired on protestors and drove into them with tanks, resulting in the death of 14 people. That evening, a photo was taken of an unarmed Lithuanian man standing alone in front of a tank.
The image is eerily similar to the famous "Tank Man" showing a Chinese civilian blocking the path of a column of People's Liberation Army (PLA) tanks in Tiananmen Square just two years earlier.
Lithuania commemorates Jan. 13 as Freedom Defenders' Day.
As you can see, Lithuanians are unafraid to stand up to oppressors, whatever the risks. We stood up for democracy 30 years ago and we're not going to sit back down.— Matas Maldeikis MP (@MatasMaldeikis) December 24, 2021
This is a photo that Beijing cannot delete.#StandWithHongKong#StandWithTaiwan#NeverForgetpic.twitter.com/RJMKiuxgSx