G7 leaders gathered in Hiroshima, Japan, for their annual summit, May 19-21, 2023. (Photo: G7 official)

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Hiroshima – Group of Seven (G7) leaders, gathered in Hiroshima for their annual summit May 19-21, 2023, discussed global challenges in human rights, nuclear disarmament, economics, trade, environment and war. Leaders expressed concern about the human rights situation, including forced labor in Tibet and East Turkestan.

The leaders of seven countries, United States President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, with the European Union's High Representative acting as an observer, gathered in Hiroshima, Japan, for its annual summit, held May 19-21, 2023. 

Following the meeting, the leaders issued a statement on May 20, 2023 and they discussed <Ukraine>,<Disarmament and Non-proliferation, <Indo-Pacific, <Global Economy, Finance and Sustainable Development>,<Climate Change> ,<Environment>, <Energy> ,<Clean Energy Economy> ,<Trade> ,<Food Security> , <Health> ,<Labor> , <Education> , <Digital>,<Science and Technology> ,<Gender>,<Human Rights, Refugees, Migration, Democracy> , <Countering Terrorism, Violent Extremism and Transnational Organized Crime / Upholding the Rule of Law / Anti-Corruption> ,<Regional Affairs>.

Regarding the dire human rights situation in Tibet, they said in the statement, “We will keep voicing our concerns about the human rights situation in China, including in Tibet and Xinjiang where forced labor is of major concern to us. We call on China to honor its commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, which enshrine rights, freedoms and a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong.”

“This communiqué by G7 leaders shows that China’s abuses in Tibet have not escaped the attention of some of the most influential leaders on the planet,” said the International Campaign for Tibet, an advocacy group that promotes human rights and democratic freedoms for the Tibetan people.

“Rather than try to hide its oppression of Tibetans or lash out at criticism from foreign governments, the government in Beijing should get back to the negotiating table and respond positively to the initiative of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan leadership in exile to peacefully resolve the longstanding conflict in Tibet,” they added.

Chinese-occupied Tibet is the least free country on the planet, along with South Sudan and Syria, according to a global ranking by the human rights organisation Freedom House. The Chinese government has illegally occupied Tibet for over 60 years, forcing the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans into exile in 1959. Today, Tibetans continue to suffer from the Chinese government's oppressive policies against them, including arrests, detentions, beatings, killings, and imprisonment simply for expressing their human rights.

The most recent attacks on Tibetans are the forced mass collection of Tibetan blood for DNA testing to tightly control Tibetans, the separation of millions of Tibetan children from their parents, culture, language and religion at the age of four or five and their forced placement in Chinese government colonial boarding schools, the teaching of Chinese language and culture and CCP ideology to Tibetan children, and their assimilation into the Chinese. Therefore, the Tibetan Youth Congress, a Tibetan organisation based in India, has launched a month-long "Tibet Matters March" from April 29 to May 23, 2023, from Gangtok, Sikkim, to Tezpur, Assam, India, to urge world leaders to address the grave human rights situation in Tibet and to pressure China to release all Tibetan political prisoners who are wrongfully imprisoned.

Since 2009, nearly 160 Tibetans have self-immolated in Tibet to protest the Chinese government's repressive policies in Tibet and have called for the return of Tibet's spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and for the freedom of Tibet.

The G7 countries also expressed concern about the human rights situation in Tibet at their summit in Germany in 2022, the G7 leaders said, “We are gravely concerned about the human rights situation in China. We will continue to promote universal values, including by calling on China to respect universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, including in Tibet and in Xinjiang where forced labour is of major concern to us.”

In addition, the G7 foreign ministers also expressed concern about the human rights situation in Tibet and urged China to allow independent monitors to visit Xinjiang and Tibet in 2022: “We remain deeply concerned by the human rights situation in China, particularly in Xinjiang and Tibet. We urge the Chinese authorities to allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang and Tibet for independent observers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and her potential visit to China.”