The hosts of this year’s G20 summit has “broken precedent” by denying leading civil society organizations the ability to monitor and comment on events inside the venue’s media centre, according to activists.
China either ignored or refused the requests of major international non-profit organizations to participate in the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou as observers, representatives of several such groups asserted Saturday.
“I do not know of any civil society organizations taking part this year,” a manager of an international advocacy group said.
“I’ve been at the last three G20 summits but not this time. In those three years, we had up to around 40 places in the media centre and were able to provide comment to journalists,” the manager told dpa.
“Basically, there is no representation by civil society at this G20 summit,” a senior staff member of a major humanitarian group said.
He also noted that when China hosted the meeting of the Civil Society 20 (C20) in Qingdao, Shandong Province in July, roughly three-quarters of organizations were affiliated with the Chinese state.
Human rights organizations and prominent activists have appealed to G20 leaders to confront Beijing over what they call a dramatically worsening environment for human rights.
In June, authorities sentenced Hangzhou-based democracy activists Lü Gengsong and Chen Shuqing to prison terms of 11 and 10.5 years respectively for their online essays in a move seen as an attempt to intimidate other dissidents from speaking up during the G20 summit.
Teng Biao, one of China’s best-known human rights lawyers who fled to the United States in 2014, said silence from G20 leaders on China’s human rights would amount to complicity.
“If G20 participants only talk about issues concerning the economy, if they don’t say anything about human rights, they are helping the Chinese government to crack down on the people and civil society,” Teng told dpa.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday told a meeting of G20 business leaders in Hangzhou that China is committed to “law-based governance.” (dpa/NAN)