China has accused the G7 of “political manipulation” after it criticized Beijing over a range of issues.
In a joint statement at the end of a three-day summit, G7 leaders urged China to “respect human rights and fundamental freedoms”.
Issues highlighted included abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority group and the crackdown on Hong Kong pro-democracy activists.
China’s embassy in the UK accused the G7 of “baseless accusations”.
The statement by the G7 – the world’s seven largest so-called advanced economies – included pledges on a number of issues, such as ending the coronavirus pandemic and steps to tackle climate change, as well as references to China.
The G7 group, made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, called on China to respect human rights in Xinjiang, a north-western region that is home to the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
The G7 statement also called for rights and freedoms to be respected in Hong Kong. The leaders said Hong Kong should retain a “high degree of autonomy”, as established under agreements when it was handed back to China in 1997.
The statement underscored the “importance of peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait – a heavily-policed waterway that separates China and Taiwan. China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state.
It also demanded a new investigation in China into the origins of Covid-19.
President Joe Biden said he was “satisfied” with the statement’s language on China.
A stronger message on China is expected to be issued by leaders of the NATO military alliance at a meeting on June 14.
“We know that China does not share our values… we need to respond together as an alliance,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said as he arrived at the one-day summit in Brussels.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the country would feature in NATO’s communiqué “in a more robust way than we’ve ever seen before”.