China facing legal talent crisis for protecting growing interests, says Xi Jinping

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Published: Mar 01, 2021, 03:07 PM(IST)

China's President Xi Jinping Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Jinping said that there were fewer than 600 Chinese lawyers who could independently handle the most trade disputes such as anti-dumping and anti-subsidies cases and only about half of them were qualified enough on World Trade Organization's appeal body

President Xi Jinping has raised concerns about China's lack of legal talents needed to protect its growing interests, calling it a ''security risk'' for the nation.

“A large amount of foreign-related affairs of Chinese companies are in the hands of European and US-based law firms, and there’s a very big security risk in this,'' Jinping said in a statement.

“The relevant departments must come up with a solution and resolve to tackle the problem'' Xi added.

Also read: China is using coronavirus to block journalists' freedom: Media group

Jinping said that there were fewer than 600 Chinese lawyers who could independently handle the most trade disputes such as anti-dumping and anti-subsidies cases and only about half of them were qualified enough on World Trade Organization's appeal body.

With Chinese companies facing increased scrutiny and bruising overseas legal battles, defending the country's interests has become a pressing issue for the Communist Party.

China’s Ministry of Commerce on Saturday published new rules for countering “unjustified” laws and restrictions imposed by foreign countries on Chinese companies and citizens, as economic relations between Beijing and Washington deteriorate.

The rules on “unjustified extra-territorial application of foreign legislation” were posted on department’s website and established a “working mechanism” to assess the legal implications of such incidents.

According to the notice, a Chinese person or organisation that is restricted by foreign legislation from “engaging in normal economic, trade and related activity with a third State or its citizens,” may report it to the commerce department within 30 days.

The commerce department will then assess a case for its potential violation of international law, impact on China’s sovereignty and national security, and impact on Chinese citizens.

When a citizen or other organisation “suffers significant losses” from non-compliance with foreign legislation, “relevant government departments may provide necessary support”, the notice says.

The Chinese government might also enact “necessary counter-measures” in response.

The new rules come amid an ongoing backlash against various Chinese companies from foreign governments, especially the United States.

Last year Washington, citing national security concerns, imposed restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, a telecom and consumer hardware giant, that deprive it of critical components and threaten to cripple its smartphone business.

Social media giants ByteDance has also been caught in Washington’s crosshairs, when last autumn the Trump Administration attempted to force it to sell the U.S. 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 U.S. President Donald Trump in November barring U.S. 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 people familiar with the matter said.

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