New law targets foreign companies . . .
Today, China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee passed an ‘Anti Sanctions Law’ to “provide a legal basis for China to respond to sanctions” and “to safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests.” The new law went into effect immediately after its adoption and now allows Beijing to impose various penalties on foreign officials and their families, or organizations and senior employees involved in the “formulation or implementation of discriminatory measures against Chinese citizens or entities.” The law also prohibits all companies, foreign or domestic, from complying with foreign sanctions if they operate in China. But according to some experts, the law suggests, without explicitly stating it, the possibility of exemptions.
Bill pushed ahead of upcoming G7 meeting . . .
The work on this new law reportedly started last year, but Beijing seems to have waited to see if the election of Joe Biden would lead to warmer relations between the U.S. and China. With the U.S. president not backing down and G7 leaders expected to present a united front on China at their meeting in the U.K. this weekend, Beijing is believed to have expedited the legislative process. It has reportedly skipped consultations and had lawmakers reviewing the bill twice, instead of the usual three times, to mount additional pressure on the U.S. and its allies ahead of the G7 meeting.
Striking back at Western sanctions . . .
China already imposed sanctions against individuals or organizations from various countries, including Canada, in recent months. But the new Anti-Sanctions Law is the first major legal instrument, and the strongest tool it has adopted so far, to strike back at sanctions imposed by Western nations over China’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the suppression of liberties in Hong Kong. The European Chamber of Commerce in China has already voiced concerns over the law. And while we do not know yet how the law will be enforced, it will undoubtedly add to the deterioration of Beijing’s relations with Western economies and complicate foreign companies’ operations in China.
- Bloomberg: China approves legislation to hit back against U.S. sanctions
- South China Morning Post: China’s anti-sanctions law ‘can target individuals, families, organisations’
- The Straits Times: China passes law to counter foreign sanctions