China hits back at G7 rights criticism

Foreign ministers from G7 countries Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan urged China to abide by its obligations under international and national law during their first face-to-face meeting in two years in London.

A handout picture released by the European Commission shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) and Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (2L), posing for a family photograph with other delegates during the G7 foreign ministers meeting in London on May 5, 2021. Picture: AFP

BEIJING - China on Thursday said it "strongly condemns" a statement by the Group of Seven nations accusing Beijing of rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, as a schism with Western democracies widens.

Foreign ministers from G7 countries Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan urged China to abide by its obligations under international and national law during their first face-to-face meeting in two years in London.

The group said they were "deeply concerned" by alleged human rights violations and abuses against the minority Uyghur Muslim population in China's western Xinjiang region and Tibet.

They also urged an end to the targeting of rights protesters in Hong Kong.

Beijing was quick to hit back, railing against the G7 for making "unfounded accusations against China and openly intervening in China's internal affairs", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

He said the group was engaged in the "wanton destruction of the norms of international relations", repeating Beijing's long-held line that those issues were China's own matters.

The G7 statement also said the group supports Taiwan's participation in World Health Organization forums and the World Health Assembly, which prompted China to retort that the island's participation must be handled in line with the one-China principle.

Wang added the G7 should do more to boost global economic recovery rather than causing "contradictions and differences" in the international community.

"We urge the relevant countries to face up to their own problems... and stop generalising on the concept of national security as well as other wrong practices," he said.

Beijing's latest rebuke comes as tensions with Western nations grow and international criticism mounts over issues including Xinjiang - where rights groups estimate at least one million Uyghurs and people from other mostly Muslim minorities have been held in camps.

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