China adopts foreign national immunity law that allows foreign states to be sued domestically News
China adopts foreign national immunity law that allows foreign states to be sued domestically

The Fifth Session of the Fourteenth National People’s Congress of China concluded on Friday. This assembly serves as the highest legislative body in the state, and its final resolutions entail modifications to existing legislative acts.

During the session, 161 members of the Standing Committee were present, and the number of participants met the quorum requirement. Mr. Zhao Leji presided over the committee’s proceedings. On this occasion, legislators decided to adopt the revised Administrative Review Law, amend the Civil Procedure Law and adopt the law on foreign national immunity.

China’s Law on the Immunity of Foreign States, scheduled to become effective on January 1, 2024, regulates the system of foreign state immunity comprehensively. This legislation establishes a legal framework for the jurisdiction and adjudication of civil cases within Chinese courts involving foreign states as defendants. This new law represents a shift from the previous policy of absolute state immunity to a regime of limited state immunity. According to the provisions of this law, Chinese courts will, under specific conditions, accept foreign states as defendants.

The Law on the Immunity of Foreign States consists of 23 articles, with its core provisions covering several key aspects. Firstly, it sets out principles and exceptions related to the jurisdictional immunity of foreign states, as well as principles and exceptions regarding the release of foreign state property from enforcement measures. Furthermore, it includes the principle of reciprocity, which means that if a foreign state offers China a less favorable immunity regime than what is outlined in the law, the principle of reciprocity will be applied.

The third review project of the Administrative Review Law strengthens the protection of administrative control and duty enforcement, enhances the relevant work requirements, improves the capacity of administrative control to handle administrative disputes, increases the number of applications for administrative control and popular initiatives and refines the administrative control jurisdiction system.

The second-instance civil procedural law project enhances provisions related to geographic jurisdiction of cases involving foreigners. It aims to coordinate jurisdiction conflicts, improve relevant provisions, and establish new standards for determining the jurisdiction of foreign courts. The amendments are also intended to enhance alignment with foreign immunity law principles.

The congress decided to extend the program, allowing lawyers from special regions of the People’s Republic of China, namely Macau and Hong Kong, to practice on the mainland of China in cities within the Greater Bay Area based on special licenses.

Furthermore, an agreement on joint extradition with Ecuador was ratified during the same session. At this session, they also approved personnel appointments and necessary personnel rotations related to responsibilities under this agreement.

In his concluding remarks, the committee chair called for efforts to elevate legislative work to a high standard. He underscored the importance of legal safeguards in building a strong state and did not overlook democratic practices, emphasizing their significance within the legislative process.

Additionally, a resolution was passed during the session to establish a strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Benin. They initiated trade relations and planned to increase the import of Benin’s products to China. China pledged to encourage Chinese investors to invest more in Benin’s national companies.

President Xi Jinping signed presidential orders to promulgate the laws and implement the decisions made during the congress.