By Sanjeev Sharma
New Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) An unprecedented meeting of Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) is taking place in Rome to coincide with the G20 summit to expose China’s human rights abuses before the international community.
“Hello from Rome! I’m here as Co-Chair of @ipacglobal, and today we’re talking about #China and its disrespect of human rights and the rule of law. As the #G20summit kicks off, we’re highlighting China’s behaviour to the international community,” Barry Ward said in a tweet.
“I’m in Rome today for the first in-person conference of @ipacglobal. As world leaders come together for the G20, they must confront the CCP’s attacks on human rights and the rule of law,” Garnett Genius, another participant of the meet, tweeted.
“‘Every time I see a world leader shaking hands with Xi Jinping, I am reminded that the survival of my community is not important enough for them to take a stand’… An incredibly powerful statement from @MahmutRahima at the @ipacglobal #G20 counter-meeting this morning,” Stop Uyghur Genocide said in a tweet.
India has joined IPAC as the 21st legislature represented. “India joins IPAC with co-chairs @SujeetKOfficial and @ninong_erring. As the world’s largest democracy, India has an integral part to play in the upholding of the rules based international order. India is the 21st legislature represented in #IPAC,” IPAC tweeted.
Chinese mouthpiece Global Times has attacked IPAC as conversion of secessionists. Global Times said that Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu’s visit is a trip about the convergence of China’s secessionist forces. Later this month, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a group of anti-China lawmakers from the West, will hold a meeting in Rome. The leading figures of many secessionist groups that aim to divide China will attend the meeting, and Wu was invited to it as well.
“Wu, a leading pro-Taiwan secession figure, has repeatedly attacked the Chinese mainland and advocated secessionist ideas through this anti-China coalition. With Wu’s participation, a combination of secessionists of Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong has formed. This is a serious provocation against the one-China principle by the anti-China forces, such as the IPAC,” Global Times said.
The conference is to focus on leaders targeted by Beijing, with Tibet, Hong Kong and Uighur activists also invited, the inter-parliamentary alliance said, Taipei Times had reported earlier.
Taiwan Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu has been invited by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, an international cross-party group of legislators, to its meeting in Rome on Friday.
“Representatives from the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) — a body of some 200 global parliamentarians — will gather in Rome to stage a counter-meeting ahead of the G20 Leaders Summit to demand a tougher stance towards the Chinese government,” the group said in a statement.
The conference “will see parliamentarians from five continents meet with prominent leaders of groups targeted by the Chinese government, including Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration Penpa Tsering, former Hong Kong legislator Nathan Law and Uyghur artist and activist Rahima Mahmut,” it said.
Legislators from around the world have gathered on the fringes of the G20 summit in Rome to protest against the presence of the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, and urge leaders not to let China off the hook over human rights abuses in return for Beijing’s cooperation on the climate crisis, The Guardian reported.
Many of those at the Rome counter-meeting have been banned from travelling to China as punishment for campaigning against Chinese repression in Xinjiang, the report said.
They are due to be addressed remotely by the Taiwanese foreign minister, Joseph Wu, as China steps up its threat to recapture Taiwan. Wu is on his first trip to Europe since 2019 and had been expected in Rome, but the Italian leg of his journey was cancelled with speculation that Rome was unwilling to give him a visa at such a sensitive time.
The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, was not attending the G20 summit in person. He has recently reaffirmed the reunification of Taiwan as a Chinese goal and increased military activity close to the island. China has described the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) counter-meeting as a gathering of secessionists, the report added.
The gathering in Rome of IPAC – a body of about 200 global parliamentarians from different political perspectives – is the kind of event that will infuriate China. The group is due to hear from Penpa Tsering, the Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration, from the Hong Kong activist and former politician Nathan Law, and the Uyghur artist and activist Rahima Mahmut, the report added.
Dovile Sakaliene, a Lithuanian MP who was sanctioned by China in 2020, said: “We are here to ensure that the People’s Republic of China does not get a free pass at this G20. The leaders of the summit must realise very clearly what is at risk when they treat the PRC as an equal member of the club and what is the cost of making Uyghur genocide, Hong Kong and Taiwan bargaining chips. Let us not fool ourselves into trusting the PRC as a reliable partner in fighting the climate crisis, a state that sanctions human rights defenders and is currently imposing draconian population control measures.”
The former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, also in Rome, described the IPAC bipartisan meeting as “utterly unprecedented”. He said: “Our collective purpose is to demand of the G20 governments that they publicly recognise the enormous threat posed by the People’s Republic of China.
“Whether it is debauching the financial system, disregarding global trading rules, committing genocide against the Uyghurs, trashing the international treaty on Hong Kong or threatening to invade Taiwan – the time has come to call the PRC out.”
(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Sanjeev Sharma