By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, May 7: The Group of Seven (G7) has singled out China for its human rights abuses and called the Asian giant a ‘bully’ for using its economic clout to dominate neighbouring countries on Wednesday. The G7 foreign ministers met in London under tight coronavirus restrictions and released a 12,400-word statement that vowed to confront biggest current threats: China, Russia and the coronavirus pandemic.
The G7 members said that it will bolster collective efforts to stop China’s “coercive economic policies” and to counter Russian disinformation. “I think [China is] more likely to need to, rather than react in anger, it is more likely going to need to take a look in the mirror and understand that it needs to take into account this growing body of opinion, that thinks these basic international rules have got to be adhered to,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
The G7 alliance comprising of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US together condemned “the targeting of Uyghurs, members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, and the existence of a large-scale network of ‘political re-education’ camps, and reports of forced labour systems and forced sterilisation”. However, the G7 states were left to their own devices to decide practices on how to best combat the alleged use of labour in East Turkestan.
This week’s meeting sets the tone for the G7 leaders’ upcoming meeting in Cornwall, England next month, where US President Biden makes his international debut. However, the communiqué has yet to undertake concrete action on China but offered to work collectively to foster global economic resilience in the face of “arbitrary, coercive economic policies and practices.”
The group also said that they supported Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) forums and World Health Assembly and expressed concerns over “any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions” in the Taiwan Strait. China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday condemned the joint statement by G7 ministers, calling it a gross interference in China’s internal affairs. The spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that the G7 as a group should take concrete actions to boost the global economic recovery instead of disrupting it.