EYESHENZHEN  /   Opinion

Clique-based G7 is hidebound

Writer: Winton Dong  |  Editor: Jane Chen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2021-06-21

The G7 summit, attended by leaders from the U.K., the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, concluded June 13 in Cornwall County in the southwest of the U.K.

After the summit, a joint statement was released. It was disappointing to see that instead of focusing on important and urgent international issues such as containing the novel coronavirus pandemic by ensuring equitable vaccine distribution, joining hands to deal with climate change and leading the world out of the mire of a lousy economy, the clique-based G7 communiqué especially targeted and scolded China over several issues.

These issues include not only human rights in Xinjiang and situations in the Taiwan Straits and the East and South China Seas, but also tracing the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. China's Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in the U.K. both denounced the joint statement, calling it distorted facts, deliberate slandering and interference with China's internal affairs.

Fact speaks louder than eloquence. As for human rights in Xinjiang, the number of Uygurs in the region has increased by 1.62 million during the past 10 years, or about 16 percent from a decade ago, to more than 11.62 million. Actually, Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, ethnicity and religion, but about fighting against terrorism, separatism and extremism.

The communiqué also called for a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong with the Sino-British Joint Declaration as the reference, but the Chinese Central Government governs Hong Kong based on the Chinese Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong, not the joint declaration. Moreover, since all G7 nations acknowledge that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the country, why do they put their noses into China's internal affairs again and again?

In my point of view, G7 nations have no qualification to slam China over the pandemic issue. At the beginning of this year, China opened all the sites, hospitals and laboratories as required by the WHO experts for the origin tracing of the pandemic. Is the United State transparent and brave enough to open its military laboratories such as Fort Detrick in Maryland, which is highly suspected by the whole world to be the pandemic source? When talking about global vaccine distribution, these wealthiest nations should be even more shameful for their selfishness. According to the WHO, of the 1.3 billion doses of vaccines given in the world till now, only 1 percent has been distributed to the African continent. However, the G7 nations have secured enough vaccines for every one of their citizens to be vaccinated more than three times.

Frankly speaking, in spite of the joint statement spearheaded by the U.S. administration, other G7 members have different opinions about China and refuse to fully endorse Joe Biden's cold-war mentality, hard-line policy and totally confrontational stance against China. For instance, the EU does not see China the way the U.S. does. The EU describes its relations with China as complicated, regarding the country as a negotiating partner, an economic competitor and a systematic rival. Besides varied willingness to confront China, the differences between the United States and other G7 nations are also deeply rooted in their trade disputes, grasps of global influence, outlooks on global governance and divided understandings of multilateralism.

It is interesting to see that the United States proposed a gigantic infrastructure plan in the G7 summit, which is called Build Back Better World or B3W, to have strategic competition with the Belt and Road Initiative sponsored by China. The Belt and Road Initiative, which was introduced in 2013, has always been criticized by the United States, but gathered momentum with more than 130 countries that are now formally affiliated, and facilitated more than 2,600 projects at a cost of US$3.7 trillion by the middle of 2020. The Chinese Government and Chinese people should be proud of such an initiative. If it is not so successful and influential, why should those rich Western nations take such pains to imitate China and make a similar one?

(The author is the editor-in-chief of Shenzhen Daily with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)