BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping called for strengthening the rule of law in foreign affairs in light of “external risks and challenges” as the country opens up to the world, media reported on Tuesday.
In order to protect its citizens and interests abroad, it is necessary to deepen international cooperation in law enforcement, strengthen consular protection and assistance, and build a strong rule of law, Xi said during a study session of the Communist Party’s powerful Politburo.
Private Chinese companies have faced legal challenges abroad in recent years, from US accusations over counterfeit and pirated products sold on internet platforms owned by Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group, to moves to ban the company-owned TikTok and Chinese technology company ByteDance in Nepal.
Xi said in his speech on Monday that it is necessary to raise compliance awareness and guide the public and enterprises to comply with laws, regulations and customs in the process of “globalization.”
To facilitate economic and trade exchanges, officials say Chinese law firms have set up 180 overseas branches in 35 countries and regions, an increase of nearly 50% since 2018.
Xi said China needs to actively develop overseas-related legal services and cultivate world-class arbitration institutions and law firms.
But authorities in some Western countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, have accused China of illegally establishing “overseas police service centers” to monitor its citizens living abroad, accusations that Beijing strongly denies.
China says these centers aim to help its citizens renew expired driver’s licenses and are run by Chinese volunteers, not law enforcement.
The call for better protection for citizens abroad coincides with the outbreak of recent conflicts in countries such as Ukraine and Sudan, which prompted China to organize evacuations of its citizens.
China has organized nearly 20 evacuations and handled more than 500,000 consular protection cases involving millions of people over the past decade, according to the Foreign Ministry.
(Written by Ryan Wu)
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