China Passes Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law Foreign Companies in China Deeply Concerned About Black Box Operations

The Standing Committee of China’s rubber-stamp National People’s Congress (NPC) passed the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law on Thursday (June 10) as what the NPC previously said would provide strong legal backing and safeguards for China to counter foreign sanctions against entities and officials. Details of the law have not been released.

In recent months, the United States, the European Union and other Western countries have been imposing sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials and entities over the persecution of China’s Uighur minority in Xinjiang and the joint implementation of national security laws by Beijing and the Hong Kong government against the pro-democracy faction in Hong Kong. For its part, China has returned the favor by imposing sanctions on politicians, academics and NGOs in Western countries.

Previously, China accused the U.S. of “long-arm jurisdiction” after the U.S. punished Chinese companies such as Huawei for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

In March, the Chinese National People’s Congress issued a report on the work of its Standing Committee, suggesting that China would expand its legal “toolbox” to address challenges and prevent risks in order to counter foreign sanctions against China.

According to Reuters, the law had its first reading in secret in April and was announced for passage on June 10, two days after the NPC began its second reading, omitting the third reading required to pass a general law.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said its members were shocked by the lack of transparency in the law’s adoption process. China seems to be in a hurry,” said Wunderkirk, president of the chamber and president of BASF Group China. Such actions are not conducive to attracting foreign investment or restoring confidence in companies that increasingly feel they will be sacrificed in the political game.”

Foreign companies looking to do business in China may find that Chinese regulatory authorities will scrutinize their business practices more severely, both locally and in foreign countries, the report said, citing Shaun Wu of Hong Kong-based law firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the passage of the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law shows China’s determination to safeguard its sovereignty and core interests, and will not affect relations with other countries.