China approves new law to counter foreign sanctions

Individuals or entities involved in making or implementing discriminatory measures against Chinese citizens or entities could be put on an anti-sanctions list.

China passed a law on Thursday to counter foreign sanctions, giving legal basis for the country to counter discriminatory measures from a foreign country.

China's top legislature, the National People's Congress standing committee, passed the law on Thursday. Individuals or entities involved in making or implementing discriminatory measures against Chinese citizens or entities could be put on an anti-sanctions list by a "relevant department" in the Chinese government.

Those on the list may be denied entry into China or expelled from China. Their assets within China may be seized or frozen. They could be restricted from doing business with entities or people within China.

President Xi Jinping signed presidential orders to promulgate the new law.

All 14 vice-chairpersons of the legislature's standing committee are under US sanctions for passing the National Security Law in Hong Kong last year.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the anti-sanction law aimed to "resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, dignity and core interests and oppose Western hegemonism and power politics," and to "provide legal support and guarantees for the country to counter discriminatory measures by a foreign country."

Wang also dismissed concerns that the legislation may affect the relationship between China and other countries.

The new law is China's latest and most wide-ranging legal tool to retaliate against foreign sanctions and is intended to give Chinese retaliatory measures more legitimacy and predictability, according to local experts.

The NPC said in its annual work report in March that it wants to "upgrade our legal toolbox" to address the risks from foreign sanctions and interference.

In January, the commerce ministry announced mechanisms to assess if foreign restrictions on Chinese trade and business activities were justified, and for Chinese individuals or companies to sue for compensation in a Chinese court.

The United States and its allies have increasingly sanctioned Chinese officials regarding policies in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, triggering counter-sanctions by China on US and EU politicians and officials.

Washington has also exercised "long-arm jurisdiction" targeting Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE.

For some time, out of political manipulation needs and ideological bias, some Western countries have used Xinjiang and Hong Kong-related issues as part of their pretexts to spread rumors, smear, contain and suppress China, said the office of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee on Monday when the bill was sent for second reading.

When asked if the legislation would affect the trade environment in China, international law scholar Li Qingming dismissed such concerns.

"The opening-up policy of China will not change because of the passage," Li told CRI.

"The bill only targets those entities or individuals that smear or suppress China and will not affect the market entities and ordinary citizens who are running their business legally in the country."

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