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Behind Closed Doors: Why China Is Not In G7?

The G7 is one of the world’s most influential forums; its members make up half of the global wealth and make decisions with global consequences. China is the second-largest economy in the world behind the United States. It has vast influence, a spectacular economy, and a lack of cooperation with this Asian powerhouse and the West. Let’s take a look at why China is not in G7 currently, and if its future membership is a possibility!

G7(Group of Seven) is an intergovernmental political forum consisting of the seven most powerful countries in the world. Founded in 1975, the G7 was first known as the G6. The initial members of that group were France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The G6 became G7 in 1976 when Canada joined. 

During the 1970s, the participants talked about a variety of economic issues, such as the initial oil crisis and the fallout from the Bretton Woods system’s fixed currency rates. They agreed on a plan for the world economy and started acting to stop the downturn. In 1981, the United Kingdom invited The European Economic Community (which eventually joined the EU) to take part in each G7 summit.

In 1998, the group expanded to G8 when Russia joined the club. One might wonder why it became the G7 again. Russia was kicked out of the group in 2014 due to its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. 

G7 serves as a high-level economic and political collaboration among its member states. It is crucial in determining how international policies are shaped, especially in the areas of trade, finance, economics, and security. This group plays a vital role in determining how international policies are shaped, especially in the areas of trade, finance, economics, and security. 

G7’s Current Membership

G7 comprises the seven most powerful and economically developed nations, each of which has a significant global influence. The member countries are:

1) United States

The G7 is led by the United States, which has the largest economy in the world and contributes to discussions on security, trade, and economic policy.

2) Canada

Canada is an important participant in conversations about energy, trade, and climate change due to its large natural resource base and strong economic stability.

3) United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a crucial member of the G7, particularly when it comes to issues of international trade, diplomacy, and financial affairs.

4) France

France is known for its diplomatic prowess and cultural sway. It adds to the conversation on global security climate change, and cultural preservation. 

5) Germany

Germany is a front-runner in discussions about the world economy and climate change. Its strong economy, innovative technology, and dedication to sustainability make it a vital participant in the group. 

6) Italy

Italy’s rich cultural legacy and economic contributions influence its discussion on art, culture, finance, and sustainable development.

7) Japan

Japan is important in conversations about technology, innovation, and regional security as a technological innovator and economic powerhouse.

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What Is The Membership Criteria Of The G7?

G7 participation is not available to all countries and is subject to a set of rules and guidelines, which adds to its exclusivity. Membership is primarily determined by:

1) Economic Power

It is anticipated that member nations will account for a sizeable portion of the global economy, enabling them to actively participate in talks on trade, financial regulation, and economic stability.

2) Political Stability

The G7 countries generally have stable political systems and good governance, which enables them to effectively participate in international cooperation and diplomacy.

3) Democratic Values

G7 strongly emphasizes shared democratic norms and principles like respect for human rights and the rule of law.

4) Global Influence

Member nations should exhibit a readiness and capacity to tackle global issues, such as public health, development, and issues of security and climate change.

5) Historical Relevance

The G7’s historical roots play a vital role in membership, as nations with important histories and cultures frequently have positions within the organization. These requirements, along with the G7’s historical foundations, add to its exclusivity and guarantee that only countries that can successfully solve the most important global challenges can join.

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Is China A Legitimate Candidate for G7 Membership?

China has gone through a remarkable economic shift in recent years. China initiated a series of economic reforms that catapulted it from a primarily agrarian economy into a major economic force. Leading figures like Deng Xiaoping were responsible for these reforms, which included opening up to foreign trade, luring foreign investments, and modernizing industries. 

China’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth rates routinely topped double digits, fostering a thriving manufacturing industry and a growing middle class in the 1980s and 1990s. 

China’s economy is now the second-largest in the world. It has helped millions of people escape poverty and become an economic juggernaut with far-reaching effects on global trade and banking. 

1) China’s Emergence as a Global Economic Powerhouse

China’s rise in the world economy is evident across various sectors. It has developed into a manufacturing hub, supplying a significant portion of the world’s goods. Chinese businesses like Huawei, Alibaba, and Tencent have achieved global recognition and influence. Additionally, China is a pioneer in several cutting-edge technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence, and renewable energy. 

2) China’s Role in International Trade and Finance

It is impossible to exaggerate China’s importance in global trade and finance. It plays a vital role in the flow of international trade because it is the greatest exporter in the world and has substantially increased its imports. The Chinese yuan, commonly known as the renminbi (RMB), is challenging the dominance of the U.S. dollar by being used more frequently in international transactions.

Furthermore, China’s launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) demonstrates its goals for connectivity and infrastructural growth around the world. BRI includes a huge network of infrastructure projects in Asia, Europe, Africa, and other continents. It aspires to improve communication, trade channels, and economic growth among participating nations. One might wonder why China is still not a part of the G7 after all this progress. Let’s dig deep and find out what is stopping China from being included in the G7.

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What Are The Challenges To China’s Membership in G7?

China might be one of the biggest economies in the world but unfortunately, G7 inclusion is not just based on this criteria. A country has to tick several boxes to become a part of G7. China is facing several obstacles that are stopping the G7 from adding it to the group.

1) Historical and Geopolitical Factors

Let us explore the historical and geopolitical factors that have prevented China from joining the G7. The G7’s position on China’s involvement has been impacted by things like past conflicts, political ideologies, and historical tensions. These elements could include China’s Cold War-era historical isolation from Western countries, the differences in its political system, and the rise of China as a geopolitical rival.

2) Human Rights and Political System

A lot of concerns over violations of human rights, censorship, and authoritarian rule have caused concern among G7 members. These worries have been a major source of debate when it comes to questions over China’s potential G7 participation. China has been criticized a lot for its human rights record. Some of the major issues are the freedom of speech restrictions, internet censorship, restrictions on the right to assemble and associate with others, and the treatment of racial and religious minorities like Tibetans and Uighurs. 

China is not a liberal country like the other G7 countries. Its liberal functioning ranks 156th in the world, meanwhile, the worst ranking of the G7 group is Italy’s, which is 34. This is the key criterion that China does not meet. 

3) Tensions and Conflicts with G7 Member Countries

China has been part of a lot of tensions and conflicts with the G7 members like geopolitics, security, trade, and human rights. 

4) Territorial Disputes in the South China Sea

The militarization of disputed islands in the South China Sea and China’s territorial claims have alarmed several G7 members, notably the United States, Japan, and Canada. China has been subjected to heightened tensions and challenges for its operations in the area. 

5) Trade Disputes

China and the G7 nations, primarily the US and several EU members, have developed trade disputes. These conflicts have been sparked by tariffs, trade barriers, accusations of intellectual property theft, and concerns about market access, and they have had a significant impact on the world economy.

6) Technology and Cybersecurity Concerns

G7 countries are concerned about China’s rapid technological advancements and suspicions of cyber surveillance. Their relations have been strained due to issues like intellectual property theft and security dangers posed by Chinese tech companies like Huawei.

7) Taiwan and Cross-Strait Tensions

The Taiwan-China situation is still a sensitive subject. The United States adheres to the “One China” policy and recognizes Beijing as the legitimate government of China but still maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan. 

How Is China’s Relationship With The G7?

China’s interaction with the Group of Seven (G7) has always been complicated and dynamic. This relationship impacts the balance of power, trade, and international diplomacy.

1) China’s Interactions with the G7 as a Non-Member

China has a complicated history with the organization as a no-G7 member. On the other hand, China’s exclusion from this group of elites has prevented it from direct involvement in shaping the G7 policies or official decisions. Still, China has not stopped engaging with the G7 nations on various upfronts. 

2) Bilateral Engagements

China conducts bilateral talks and negotiations with individual G7 members. These interactions cover various important subjects like trade, investments, climate change, and regional security. These one-on-one discussions allow China to discuss its particular interests and concerns with the G7 countries.

3) Global Forums

China actively takes part in international gatherings at which the G7 countries are present. For instance, China can interact with the G7 countries on international concerns like climate change, sustainable development, and economic governance because it is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the G20.

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4) Trade Relations

China’s rapid economic growth has made it a significant trade partner for G7 member countries. A lot of G7 countries’ economies depend on trade negotiations and agreements with China which often determines how they interact.

How Has China Responded to Its Exclusion From the G7?

China’s exclusion from the G7 prompted a strategic and subtle response from Beijing. China has used its absence to pursue alternate avenues for global participation and influence rather than seeing it as merely a setback. The main components of Chinese policy include:

1) Multilateral Diplomacy

China has increased its involvement in various international organizations and platforms to compensate for its exclusion from the G7 membership. It includes strengthening ties with organizations like the United States, where China has taken a more assertive role in promoting its interests on issues like climate change and development. 

Regional Leadership

China has taken a leadership role in regional organizations like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). These platforms provide China with a chance to boost its economic integration, regional collaboration, and influence within its immediate neighbors. 


China founded the group BRICS which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa as a counterbalance to Western dominance in international financial institutions. Thanks to the BRICS focus on problems including economic cooperation, financing for development, and reform of global governance, China has been able to position itself as a champion of emerging economies. 

What Are the Future Possibilities for China’s Inclusion in the G7?

1) Speculating on the Future of China’s Relationship with the G7

The future of China’s relationship with the G7 holds both potential and uncertain opportunities. Although it is not currently a formal member of the G7, China’s interactions with this powerful group may be influenced by the following future events:

a) Expanded Dialogue

One of the possibilities is an increase in high-level dialogues and cooperation between China and the G7 on global issues and topics of common interest, like climate change, economic stability, and pandemic response. Even if China remains an observer, this could lead to more regular engagement.  

b) Bilateral Relations

China may continue to strengthen its bilateral ties with specific G7 members. Economic cooperation, geopolitical alliances, and diplomatic efforts may play a vital role in fostering closer relations, which would allow China indirect access to G7 decision-making.

2) Potential Scenarios for China’s G7 Membership

There is a lot of debate on China’s road to G7 participation but certain scenarios may help it get there:

a) Economic Integration

If China’s economic dependency on the G7 countries increases, it may enhance the incentives for G7 countries to include China as a member to solve common economic problems in a better manner.

b) Diplomatic Breakthroughs

If there are diplomatic breakthroughs on sensitive subjects like territorial disputes and human rights issues, the negotiations on China’s membership may progress easily. 

c) G7 Expansion

China and other emerging nations may be added to G7 in the future due to their recognition of their growing influence and contributions to global governance.


China has become the second-biggest economy in the world after the United States but due to various reasons, it is not included in the G7. While Beijing and Shanghai are considered advanced industrialized economies by the IMF and high-income by The World Bank, these two are not the only parts of China. If we take a peek at the nominal GDP, it is just above the global average. China as a whole has a nominal GDP per capita of 4,166.8 USD according to CEIC data. According to that data, China does not pass the criteria to be a part of the G7. 

The G7 countries are liberal democracies, meanwhile, China is the opposite of that. These two are the main reasons why China is not in G7. 


Is China a part of the G7?

No, China is one of the biggest economies in the world but due to its low nominal GDP and non-liberal democracy, it is not included in the G7.

What is China’s response to the G7?

In reaction to the G7, China has engaged in diplomatic activity, looked for substitute international venues, and promoted a more multipolar world order.

Does China participate in G7 meetings?

China takes part in a few G7 summits and meetings as an observer, offering opinions on a few particular matters but not as a full member.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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