Lawmakers in eight countries form new global coalition to counter China

A group of 19 MPs from eight countries and the European Parliament, representing a swathe of parties from across the political spectrum have launched a new cross-parliamentary alliance to help counter what they say is the threat China’s growing influence poses to global trade, security and human rights.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China said it aims to “construct appropriate and coordinated responses, and to help craft a proactive and strategic approach on issues related to the People’s Republic of China.”
The decision comes as the US struggles to muster a cohesive alliance to take on China’s growing economic clout and as it leads foreign governments in condemning Beijing’s move to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong.
US Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democrat Bob Menendez, former Japanese defense minister Gen Nakatani, European Parliament foreign affairs committee member Miriam Lexmann and prominent UK Conservative lawmaker Iain Duncan Smith are all co-chairs of the newly launched group.
“China, under the rule of Chinese Communist Party, represents a global challenge,” Senator Rubio, a frequent critic of Beijing said in a video message on Twitter.
Beijing has repeatedly stressed that the situation in Hong Kong is an internal matter, while saying China’s broader economic and diplomatic expansion poses no threat to the world.
However, the group said China’s economic rise is putting the global, rules-based order under pressure and that countries that have tried to stand up to Beijing have mostly done so alone – and “often at great cost.”
The list of participating nations includes the US, Germany, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway, as well as members of the European parliament.
The Trump administration’s efforts to rewrite the bilateral trade relationship with China have prompted a protracted trade war that has had global consequences.
Canada saw two of its citizens – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – detained without trial as a result of the arrest of a Chinese Huawei Technologies Co executive.
Australia’s efforts to hold China accountable for the Covid-19 pandemic, which was first detected in the mainland city of Wuhan, have led to new tariffs on Australian barley and bans on some meat.
“The time has come for democratic countries to unite in a common defence of our shared values,” UK Conservative lawmaker Iain Duncan Smith said on Twitter.
Smith said he was “astonished” at the level of interest in joining the coalition, particularly from Sweden and Germany.
“Some countries – we hadn’t even asked – had heard about it and then jumped in,” he said, citing Norway and Sweden.
He said Beijing’s “aggressive wolf-warrior diplomacy” and “economic intimidation towards Australia” had accelerated the need for the group, with many of the represented countries still forming their China policy.