Legislators in 8 countries form alliance to reform democratic approach to China

India Today, June 06, 2020

“The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China is an international cross-party group of legislators working towards reform on how democratic countries approach China,” reads IPAC’s official website.

Lawmakers from eight democracies around the world came together on June 5 to launch The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China. “China, under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party represents a global challenge,” American legislator Marco Rubio said in a video message marking the beginning of the new alliance on Friday.

Apart from the Republican Senator from Florida, other co-chairs include European Parliament foreign affairs committee member Miriam Lexmann, US Democrat Bob Menendez, former Japanese defense minister General Nakatani and British MP Sir Iain Duncan-Smith along with Australian Senator Kimberley Kitching, Canadian MP Garnett Genuis, German MP Micheal Brand, Lithuanian MP Mantas Adomenas, Dutch MP Arne Weverling, and Norwegian MP Michael Tetzschner among others.

In its inaugural message, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China or IPAC as it is being referred to, stated its purpose as that of an international coalition of lawmakers 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”.

According to IPAC’s official website, its members follow two principles – “Democratic states must maintain the integrity of their political systems, and actively seek to preserve a marketplace of ideas free from distortion”, and “A free, open, and rules-based international order that supports human dignity is created and maintained through intention. The persistence of such an order requires like-minded countries to participate actively in its governance and enforcement.”

The formation of IPAC comes at a time when China is defending its position on the national security legislation that is poised to dilute Hong Kong’s autonomy. At the same time, more and more countries are expressing concern at the origin of the novel coronavirus which China now says originated at multiple locations and not solely at the wet market in Wuhan in Hubei province as suspected. This discussion has, in fact, led to a visibly unabashed backlash from the Chinese government against Australia in particular.

Responding to the formation of this cross-parliamentary alliance that seeks to reform how democratic countries communicate with China, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press briefing on Friday, “We urge a small number of politicians to respect facts, respect the basic rules of international relations, abandon a Cold War mentality, stop interfering in domestic affairs and making political moves for selfish interests.”

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