China passes law to counter foreign sanctions against officials, entities

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China on June 10, 2021, passed the Anti-foreign Sanctions Law.

The new law provides a comprehensive legal cover for blocking foreign sanctions against Chinese officials and entities and protection from long-arm jurisdiction, especially from the US. The law was first time introduced during NPC’s annual session in March 2021.

In the past, Beijing has resorted to using sanctions as a means of retaliation against foreign sanctions.

China in January 2021, had issued sanctions on former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo citing ‘interference in China’s internal affairs and disrupting China-US relations’. In another such sanction in March 2021, China issued sanctions on the members of the EU as a countermeasure to the EU’s sanctions over Xinjiang affairs.

China’s Anti-foreign Sanctions Law

• Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that the Anti-foreign Sanctions Law will safeguard China’s national dignity, sovereignty, and core interests, oppose western hegemonism and power politics.

• The Anti-foreign Sanctions Law will offer a legal framework for Chinese firms to retaliate and seek compensation against foreign sanctions.

• Legal experts in China state that the first of its kind, the Anti-foreign Sanctions Law will offer the country strong legal support and measures against discriminatory and unilateral sanctions issued by foreign countries.

• Legal experts also state that the Anti-foreign Sanctions Law will empower China to take harsher countermeasures such as freezing bank assets or properties in China, imposing sanctions on individuals or entities, or restricting entry into China.

Why did China pass Anti-foreign Sanctions Law?

• The Anti-foreign Sanctions Law was passed due to the increasing number of sanctions being issued by the EU and US against the Chinese officials and entities such as ZTE and Huawei over alleged violations of human rights violations against Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang and Hong Kong bills last year.

• Previous sanctions lacked sufficient legal basis, a legal expert noted.

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