China has passed a law today that will allow it to counter foreign sanctions, according to state broadcaster China Centra Television (CCTV).
The bill was passed by China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) standing committee after a second review, after a secret first review in April.
Little is yet known of the law, but it comes after a slew of sanctions against Beijing’s treatment of Uighers, Tibetans and those in Hong Kong.
It is thought that the law will offer a legal framework through which China can retaliate sanctions.
It may also allow Chinese firms to seek compensation over foreign sanctions, which means it could even extend to sanctioned public officials.
Government advisers say Beijing pushed the pedal on the plans after US president Joe Biden failed to take a softer stance on China than former president Donald Trump, sources told the South China Morning Post.
The sources added that talks began last year during Trump’s presidency, but said Beijing was eyeing signs that the White House would foster a different approach towards its human rights treatment.
Just last week, a London tribunal heard that around 1m people, mostly Muslim Uighurs of the Xinjiang region, are thought to have been detained inside “re-education camps”.
The UK joined the EU and the US in applying sanctions against four senior Chinese officials and one Chinese agency involved in human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang in March.
The government also unveiled a raft of asset freezes and travel bans against the Chinese officials over their treatment of Uighur Muslims in the northwestern Chinese province.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said at the time that China’s treatment of Uighurs was “one of the worst human rights crises of our time” and “the largest mass detention of an ethnic or religious group since the Second World War”.