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Lithuania is investigating after a cross marking the Hong Kong protests placed at the Hill of Crosses, near the city of Siauliai, was plucked from the ground and thrown by a Mandarin-speaking visitor. Photo: Twitter

Lithuanian foreign minister criticises Chinese tourist who tossed pro-Hong Kong memorial across pilgrimage site

  • Linas Linkevicius hits out at ‘shameful’ behaviour as investigation into Hill of Crosses incident begins
  • Video posted to Twitter shows visitor proclaiming, ‘We have done something good today’ after throwing away cross carrying protest slogans
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Lithuania has announced an investigation into “shameful” behaviour after a video showed a cross bearing pro-Hong Kong democracy protest slogans at a Christian pilgrimage plucked from the ground and tossed away by a Chinese tourist.

A video showing two Mandarin-speaking women on the Hill of Crosses memorial near the city of Siauliai caught the attention of senior government officials. One woman was seen picking the cross up as the other encouraged her to “throw it away”.

“[This] shameful, disgraceful act of vandalism is currently under investigation by Lithuanian authorities,” Linas Linkevicius, foreign minister of Lithuania, wrote on his official Twitter page on Sunday. “Such behaviour can’t and won’t be tolerated.”

On Sunday, police officers who visited the site to assess the incident after examining videos and photos launched an inquiry, local media said.

Records suggest the Hill of Crosses may have been a pilgrimage site since the 1830s. Photo: Shutterstock

The dispute between supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and pro-government voices that prevail in mainland China has escalated to diplomatic levels in a number of countries, including Lithuania. Beijing had not publicly responded to the Lithuanian foreign ministry as of noon on Monday.

Linkevicius made his statement while retweeting the video posted by an account called W.B. Yeats, whose Twitter biography claimed the user was a Hongkonger and supporter of the protests.

In the 28-seconds video, a woman was seen picking up a wooden cross planted in the ground which bore the messages “Hongkongers”, “Glory to Hong Kong”, and “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times” – phrases chanted by demonstrators in support of the anti-government protests that have been going on for nearly seven months.

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“Just throw it away. Get [it] lost,” a female voice from behind the camera said after reading the slogans on the cross aloud.


The woman who lifted the cross threw it into a cluster of other memorials and walked away, while the person filming the incident chuckled and said: “We have done something good today! Our Motherland is great!”

The source of the video cannot be confirmed. Screenshots circulated online showed that the video was first posted by an Instagram account belonging to a female Chinese user identified as Ping Wang. The video has been deleted.

Siauliai is about 210 kilometres (130 miles) northwest of the capital, Vilnius. Documents date the Hill of Crosses to a commemoration of the victims of an 1831 rebellion against the Russian Empire.

In 1993, Pope John Paul II visited the site and declared it a place for hope, peace, love and sacrifice as the tradition of placing crosses as a symbol of defiance continued.

Visitors today are free to place crosses on the hill and tens of thousands of memorials have been left.


Hong Kong protesters have sought to bring international influence to bear on Beijing to achieve their demands, including greater democracy and an investigation into the use of force by the police during protests. Beijing has dismissed comments from overseas, saying Hong Kong was an internal matter.

Hong Kong’s human chains may add to Beijing’s fears of emerging ‘colour revolution’

In August, Hong Kong protesters formed human chains across the city on the day that marked the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way – a tactic used by Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians in their protests against the Soviet Union.


In September, Vilnius summoned the Chinese ambassador over the embassy’s alleged involvement in a counterprotest against supporters of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement in Lithuania.

On Monday, Chinese state media had not reacted to the minister’s statement or the video. On Weibo, China's microblogging platform, one of about 70 comments in response to a post that carried the video said: “Never mind a cross, we will find ways to destroy God as he is yellow.”


Yellow is a pro-protest colour in Hong Kong. The comment gained more than 60 “likes” from other users.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Probe into vandalism by Chinese tourists