China's actions in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and South China Sea raised by G7

London

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) countries rebuked China on issues concerning Hong Kong, human rights violations in Xinjiang, and military build-up in South China Sea.

"We continue to be deeply concerned about human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and in Tibet, especially 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," G7 ministers said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The leaders raised concerns about the situation in and around the East and South China Seas.

"We remain seriously concerned about the situation in and around the East and South China Seas. We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues," the G7 ministers said.

The ministers reiterated their strong opposition to any "unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order and express serious concerns about reports of militarisation, coercion, and intimidation in the region".

"We call on China and the Hong Kong authorities to end the targeting of those who defend rights and freedoms and democratic values, to uphold the independence of the judicial system and to ensure cases are not transferred to the mainland," the statement said.

The leaders of G7 urged China to uphold its commitments to act responsibly in cyberspace, including refraining from conducting or supporting cyber-enabled intellectual property theft.

The ministers also supported Taiwan's meaningful participation in World Health Organisation forums and the World Health Assembly in a bid to strengthen global cooperation.

China sharply rejects criticism by G7 FMs

Beijing

China on Thursday sharply rejected criticism by the G7 Foreign Ministers as "groundless accusations".

"The G7 Foreign Ministers' meeting made groundless accusations against China, grossly interfered in China's internal affairs," dpa news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin as saying to reporters here.

"Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang ... are all China's internal affairs."

The group of economically powerful democracies had issued a statement on Wednesday at the conclusion of their Foreign Ministers' meeting in London criticizing the persecution of the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang and Beijing's tough stance on Hong Kong.

Wang said the G7 group should pay more attention to the recovery of the global economy and help developing countries instead of fomenting conflict in the international community.

The spokesman also took exception to comments from within the group, including from German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, that the G7 group should counter China's vaccine diplomacy.

Wang pointed out that some G7 countries have suffered the most severely from the pandemic, even though they have widely developed medical technology.

The G7 should focus on international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic and equitable distribution of vaccines, rather than hoarding vaccines and making "vague and irrelevant remarks" about other countries' behaviour, the spokesman said.

"We urge relevant countries to face up to their own domestic problems, to correct their selfish behaviours in anti-epidemic efforts and stop over-stretching the concept of national security," Wang said.

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