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China to push legislation to fight 'long-arm' foreign pressure

by Reuters
Monday, 8 March 2021 10:59 GMT

By Yew Lun Tian

BEIJING, March 8 (Reuters) - China will speed up lawmaking aimed at countering foreign sanctions and "long-arm jurisdiction", its parliament said on Monday, amid increasing pressure from Western countries over issues ranging from Xinjiang to Hong Kong.

Reading its annual work report at a parliamentary session, parliament chief Li Zhanshu said China will in the coming year accelerate legislation relating to external affairs and "upgrade our legal toolkit" in an effort to "oppose foreign sanctions, interference, and long-arm jurisdiction".

In a speech last November, President Xi Jinping urged top party leaders to "promote the rule of law" in matters involving foreign parties. He also called for the use of legal means to defend China's sovereignty, security and interests.

The United States has increasingly used sanctions or the threat of sanctions to express its concern about how China treats its Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang as well as pro-democracy activities in Hong Kong.

China, which frequently advocates a policy of non-interference, maintains those are internal matters that Washington should stay out of.

All 14 of Li's deputies in the leadership of the National People's Congress, China's rubber-stamp parliament, are under U.S. sanctions for their role in passing the National Security Law last year that has crippled political opposition in Hong Kong.

Li did not provide details of the planned legislation.

China has condemned Canada's arrest of Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018, under an extradition request by the United States, as an example of "long-arm jurisdiction", and has been fighting to secure her release since then. (Reporting by Yew Lun Tian Editing by Tony Munroe/Mark Heinrich)

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