Sunday, June 20

China wants to counter Western sanctions

The timing owes nothing to chance. Thursday, June 10, on the eve of the opening of the G7 summit in Cornwall, China urgently adopted a “foreign anti-seizure law”. Unlike the usual legislative process, the bill had not been made public beforehand and the text was adopted in two readings instead of three. It comes into force on this day.

This law has sixteen articles. It indicates that “If foreign countries violate international law and fundamental norms of international relations (…) and take discriminatory measures against Chinese citizens or organizations and interfere in Chinese internal affairs, China has the right to take corresponding countermeasures ”.

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These measures, specifies Article 4, may concern “Individuals and organizations directly or indirectly involved in the formulation, decision and implementation of discriminatory restrictive measures” with regard to China. A very broad definition, underline several Western experts, since it seems to be able to include think tanks and non-governmental organizations. Likewise, the text specifies, the spouses and immediate family of the persons concerned may also be targeted as well as organizations led by a person sanctioned.

In preparation since 2020

There are four types of sanctions: China can decide not to grant a visa, to terminate it or even to deport a person concerned. It can also seize the assets of an individual or an organization inside the country. It can also prohibit a person or organization from trading in China. Finally, China can take“Other necessary measures”. Without further details. She can therefore do whatever she pleases, including, underlines a Chinese lawyer in the Global Times, take countermeasures heavier than the initial sanctions.

According to several accounts, the law had been in preparation since 2020, but Beijing was waiting to see how the new US administration would behave before adopting it.

However, contrary to what some expected, President Joe Biden did not go back on the anti-Chinese legal arsenal of his predecessor. On the contrary, he strengthened it. On June 3, he added some 30 new Chinese companies to the list of companies in which American capital is not allowed to invest. 59 Chinese companies are now “blacklisted”, including giants like China Mobile or the oil company Cnooc. Alone or almost, TikTok benefits from a more lenient measure of the new administration.

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