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G7 expresses concern over China's human rights abuses, calls on it to join int'l system

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attended the two-day meeting of the G7 in London, Britain, which concluded on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken/Twitter
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attended the two-day meeting of the G7 in London, Britain, which concluded on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken/Twitter

May 5 (UPI) -- The foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations on Wednesday criticized Beijing for its human rights abuses while calling on it to participate in the international rules-based system.

The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States met in London for their first in-person meeting in two years and issued a communique that called on China to embrace the global system while rebuking it for its human rights abuses in Hong Kong and those committed against its Muslim minority Uighur citizens in Xinjiang.

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The wealthy nations also reiterated their call for "unfettered access to Xinjiang to investigate the situation on the ground."

Of the seven nations, the parliaments of Canada and Britain declared Beijing was committing genocide against its Uighur citizens as has the U.S. State Department under former President Donald Trump.

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The United States, the European Union and other Western nations have accused Beijing of interning more than a million of its Uighur citizens in Xinjiang camps where they are subjected to forced labor, torture and sterilization. The U.S. State Department has also accused it of unlawful killings, forced disappearances and other human rights crimes.

The statement from the G7 on Wednesday said it was "deeply concerned" about those human rights violations.

They also called for Taiwan's integration in the World Health Organization while expressing concern over increased tensions in the East and South China Seas and calling for a "peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues" amid growing tensions between China and Taiwan.

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"We reiterate our 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 militarization, coercion and intimidation in the region," they said.

The communique was published a day after a senior State Department official told reporters during a briefing on Tuesday that China was a "dominate" topic during the G7, stating the United States led with discussing Beijing "because it was the most important agenda item for us."

The official said there's broad agreement between the nations that they all want China to be an integral member of the international order but it needs to play by its rules.

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However, the official stressed that the was "a great deal of concern" over China's human rights violations and its failure to honor commitments it made including to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"This is not an internal affair," the official said. "This is a matter of living up to international obligations that China signed up for, and there was a unanimity in the G7 of that score as well."

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