China strikes back at 'unjustified' foreign laws

Announces new rules to counter US and other foreign laws that affect Chinese citizens or companies doing business with a third State or its citizens; move comes after a wave of sanctions imposed by the Trump administration recently on Chinese leaders, firms linked to the PLA or 'abuses' in Xinjiang or Hong Kong

China strikes back at 'unjustified' foreign laws
The Chinese flag is seen on a building in Beijing. File photo by Reuters.

(ATF) China has hit back at 'unjustified' laws and sanctions imposed by the United States and other countries on Chinese companies or citizens. The move comes amid a trade war with the US and worsening ties with the Trump administration in Washington.

The Ministry of Commerce in Beijing published new rules on its website today (Jan 9) to try to counter foreign laws and restrictions imposed on Chinese companies and its leaders. 

They establish a mechanism to assess the legal implications of foreign laws with "unjustified extra-territorial application" – ie. sanctions that would hinder Chinese companies or its citizens in other parts of the world.

The notice says Chinese citizens or companies that are restricted by foreign laws from "engaging in normal economic, trade and related activity with a third state or its citizens," may file reports about this to the Commerce department within 30 days.

The department would then assess such cases for potential violation of international law, as well as its impact on China's sovereignty and national security, and its impact on Chinese citizens.

If officials at the department decide that a citizen or company has "suffered significant losses" for not complying with foreign laws, it or "relevant departments may provide necessary support", the notice says.

Counter-measures

The Chinese government might also implement "counter-measures" in response. But no details were given on what these might be.

The new rules come amid a campaign against Chinese companies such as the telecom giant Huawei, which was deemed a national security risk by the United States, India, Australia, the United Kingdom and other nations.

Restrictions imposed on Huawei by Washington last year have blocked it from receiving the latest computer chips from US companies – critical components that have hurt the tech firm's smartphone business and its ability to role out 5G telecom infrastructure in countries around the world.

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Social media giant ByteDance has also been caught in Washington's crosshairs, when last autumn the Trump Administration attempted to force it to sell the US division of its popular app TikTok.

The New York Stock Exchange this week said it will delist three Chinese telecom companies following an order from US President Donald Trump in November barring US persons from investing in publicly traded companies Washington deems to be tied to the Chinese military.

The Trump administration is considering adding tech giants Alibaba and Tencent to a blacklist of firms allegedly owned or controlled by the Chinese military, two sources have told Reuters.

With reporting by Reuters

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