China enacted legislation on Wednesday pertaining to international relations and strengthening its ability to impose “countermeasures” against foreign actors. The new law aims to deter sanctions against the nation and includes provisions outlining retaliatory measures against actions that could undermine China’s independence and national security.
In the new law, China asserts its right to take retaliatory measures against sanctions and external interference. While it does not define the measures, it does state that China maintains the right “to take corresponding countermeasures and restrictive measures.” The way the law is written implies that such measures will be responsive, rather having China initiate sanctions or political pressure. Specifically, the law aims to target actions that “endanger China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.”
Past the provision regarding countermeasures, a bulk of the new law includes language already encompassed by existing laws in effect in China. For example, the new law underscores the importance of a foreign policy aligned with socialism. The introductory section explicitly recognizes the invaluable perspective of Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding Chinese socialism, alongside Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong’s ideologies.
That said, the law recognizes the UN as the paramount global authority, underscoring its ongoing participation in both the UN General Assembly and Security Council. In particular, the law reiterates China’s adherence to the principles outlined in the Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
Rather than articulate a new position on a bulk of the provisions contained within the law, the new law seeks to consolidate these provisions into a singular framework.
The new law is set to enter into force on July 1, following a recent spike in rhetoric between China and the West. In February, tensions flared between the US and China when the US claimed a Chinese spy balloon was spotted and shot down in their airspace. More recently, in early June, China and the EU traded sharp words over an EU resolution to support democracy and human rights in Hong Kong.