China: China passes law to counter foreign sanctions

China has passed a law to counter foreign sanctions, as it strives to diffuse pressure from the United States and the European Union over trade, technology, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress standing committee (NPC) passed the law on Thursday, according to state television CCTV. But details of its contents have not yet been released.

The new law is China’s latest and most wide-ranging legal tool to respond to foreign sanctions and local experts say it is intended to give Chinese retaliatory measures more legitimacy and predictability.

Foreign companies, however, worry about the dampening effect it might have on foreign investment.

The US and its allies have increasingly sanctioned Chinese officials to express concern about how China treats its Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang and pro-democracy activities in Hong Kong. For instance, 14 vice-chairpersons of the NPC’s standing committee are under US sanctions for passing a national security law last year that critics say has crippled political freedoms in Hong Kong.

Washington has also targeted Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE for violating US sanctions on Iran or North Korea, an act China called “long-arm jurisdiction”.

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