Parliamentarians from each of the G7 member states have called on their governments to reform supply chain legislation and support infrastructure projects in the developing world in response to China’s growing influence on the global stage. The joint letter, co-ordinated by the cross-party Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), is addressed to leaders participating in the upcoming G7 Summit.
The letter, attached, notes the “unique challenge” posed by widespread, state sponsored forced labour, implicating numerous global supply chains in the Uyghur Region and elsewhere in China. The letter calls for the G7 states to ban imports of goods produced by forced labour and to establish minimum standards of transparency and disclosure for companies operating in areas at a known risk of forced labour.
The letter also calls for the G7 to propose a global infrastructure development programme to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The signatories write that states signing up to the BRI “trade economic support for political acquiescence, and risk falling foul of debt trap diplomacy.”
Signatories to the letter, a full list of which is attached, include Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Senator Marco Rubio, Vice Chairman of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; Reinhard Bütikofer MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s China delegation; Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, former leader of the UK Conservative Party; Margarete Bause, Green member of the German Bundestag; and Representative Gen Nakatani, former Japanese defence minister.
Senator Marco Rubio, Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said:
“The Chinese Communist Party desires a world where its malign activities and gross violations of human rights can be committed with the same impunity as it enjoys within its own borders. Beijing’s aggression require a united response from members of the G7 and democracies worldwide.”
Reinhard Bütikofer MEP, Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said:
“It is unacceptable that goods tainted by Uyghur forced labour are circulating freely across the globe. Unless urgent action is taken, firms and consumers risk unwitting complicity in these abuses. G7 states must lead a coordinated effort to block forced labour imports and set new global standards on transparency and disclosure. No one can be allowed to profit off the abuse of the Uyghurs and other minority groups.”
Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said:
“China’s Belt and Road Initiative seeks to cement Beijing’s dominance in the developing world. This support comes at a significant price. First, states that take part are ridden with debt and have no option but to support the demands of the Chinese government. Second, the Chinese government makes no secret of its determination to get developing states to adopt their governmental model of oppressive communism. Sadly, As the Belt and Road initiative grinds on, we in the free world are yet to offer any alternative. We are running out of time, the G7 must lead a concerted effort to provide much needed infrastructure development globally.”
Prime Minister of Canada, Mr Justin Trudeau
President of the European Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Council, Mr Charles Michel
President of France, Mr Emmanuel Macron
Chancellor of Germany, Ms Angela Merkel
Prime Minister of Italy, Mr Mario Draghi
Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Yoshihide Suga
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr Boris Johnson
President of the United States, Mr Joe Biden
As you prepare for the upcoming annual G7 Summit, we write to you with the understanding that the Summit will seek to address the growing challenges posed by the actions of the government of the People’s Republic of China.
In the two years that have passed since the 45th G7 Summit, the Chinese government has perpetrated severe human rights abuses, particularly against minorities in the Uyghur Region. There is mounting and strong evidence that the Chinese government is committing crimes against humanity, with credible sources finding indications of genocide. The Chinese government has broken its international treaty obligations to the people of Hong Kong and has sought to threaten Taiwan and intimidate its neighbours through the heavy militarisation of the South China Sea. These actions undermine the rules based international order and require a common response from G7 nations and like minded countries.
In particular, we ask you to consider the unique challenge posed by widespread, state sponsored forced labour of Uyghurs and other minorities throughout China, through so-called labour transfer programmes. Xinjiang is deeply embedded in international supply chains and dominates global production in industries from cotton to solar power technology. Unless urgent action is taken, firms and consumers across the world risk becoming unwitting agents in these abuses.
G7 states must lead a coordinated push for global supply chain transparency and for bans on the importation of products tainted by forced labour. Governments should work to establish and enforce minimum standards of disclosure, particularly for companies with supply chains in regions with a known risk of forced labour.
We also emphasise the significance of the Chinese government’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Chinese government is using the BRI to extend its influence on all continents. States that participate in the BRI are increasingly expected by China to trade economic support for political acquiescence, and risk falling foul of debt trap diplomacy. As the world looks towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries are even more hard pressed to tackle their development needs successfully. The G7 must agree to working with global partners to offer compelling connectivity alternatives for states in need of infrastructural development.
We look forward to successful initiatives taken by the G7 summit and stand ready to contribute our part as parliamentarians to the development of an agenda for human rights, democracy, rule of law, economic progress, solidarity and sustainability world wide.
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Canada)
Garnett Genuis MP (Canada)
Reinhard Bütikofer MEP (European Union)
Miriam Lexmann MEP (European Union)
Isabelle Florennes MP (France)
Senator André Gattolin (France)
Margarete Bause MdB (Germany)
Michael Brand MdB (Germany)
Senator Lucio Malan (Italy)
Senator Roberto Rampi (Italy)
Representative Gen Nakatani (Japan)
Representative Shiori Yamao (Japan)
Rt Hon Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP (United Kingdom)
Baroness Helena Kennedy (United Kingdom)
Senator Bob Menendez (United States)
Senator Marco Rubio (United States)
Co-Chairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China