China has passed a law to counter foreign sanctions in its latest move to diffuse U.S. and EU pressure over trade, technology, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
This comes as China looks to widen its legal tool to retaliate against foreign sanctions and give its retaliatory measures more legitimacy and predictability.
The United States and its allies have in the past months increasingly sanctioned Chinese officials over concerns of genocide in its Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang and pro-democracy activities in Hong Kong. It was seemingly a war as China always promptly hit back with counter-sanctions.
The proceedings of the National People’s Congress standing committee (NPC) were captured in the CCTV of the state-run media but the details of the law have not been disclosed.
All 14 vice-chairpersons of the committee are currently under U.S. sanctions for passing the National Security Law last year that critics say has crippled political freedoms in Hong Kong. Beijing says it was needed to restore stability in the city.
The NPC had earlier in its annual work report released in March hinted that it wants “upgrade our legal toolbox” to address the risks from foreign sanctions and interference.
But local experts worry about the dampening impact it might have on foreign investment.
The bill underwent a secret first reading in April, and was passed on Thursday, barely two days after NPC announced that it was doing a second reading of the bill. It skipped a third reading normally needed for other bills.