Draft rules issued on consular protection to help Chinese abroad

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/26 23:08:42 Last Updated: 2018/3/26 23:37:12

China's new draft regulation on consular protection and assistance released Monday should stop abuses of State assistance and wipe out foreign countries' concerns toward China, according to Chinese analysts.

The 38-clause draft seeks to safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese residents abroad and regulate consular protection of diplomats and diplomatic institutions. The regulation is open to public opinion until April 26.

The draft details responsibilities of consular staff and Chinese nationals overseas. If adopted, it would be the first such law in the country, analysts said.

Such a regulation is necessary as China further opens with the Belt and Road initiative. More Chinese are traveling overseas, He Zhipeng, a professor of international human rights and legal education at Jilin University, told the Global Times.

When Chinese nationals are held in custody, arrested or have their liberty restricted, China's diplomatic departments will ensure Chinese citizens enjoy humanitarian and fair treatment, the draft reads.

The law also clarifies the wrong notion that "China's consulate is responsible for everything abroad," said Ma Zhengang, a former senior diplomat and vice president of China Public Diplomacy Association.

The draft listed five situations not in the scope of consular services including arbitration of labor disputes or investigation of any legal cases involving Chinese nationals.

A clear definition of consular protection will increase China consulates' credibility and avoid misunderstanding with Chinese nationals, Ma explained.

The regulation would effectively "standardize the workloads of Chinese consulates and stop the abuse of State assistance," Zhang Ji, director of the Center for People-to-People Exchange Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Monday.

The regulation will also enhance security and increase legal awareness of Chinese residents overseas, Zhang said. Chinese overseas should safeguard their personal rights in a rational way and avoid improper or uncivilized activities.

In January, Chinese travelers were filmed singing the Chinese national anthem at Tokyo airport. Later the same month when 150 Chinese passengers began chanting after being stuck at a Sri Lanka airport for eight hours, the Chinese embassy issued a statement calling for "calmness."

According to the draft regulation, China's diplomatic departments and personnel stationed in foreign nations should obey local laws, religion and customs and fully take objective factors of the foreign nations into consideration.

Such articles will help avoid "over-protection" of Chinese overseas and avoid abuse of power by diplomats that stoke overseas concerns that come with the "China threat" theory, the Chinese analysts said.

The Chinese foreign ministry handled more than 70,000 cases of consular protection in 2017 amid enhanced efforts to ensure the rights and interests of Chinese nationals overseas, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on March 8.

A total 130 million overseas trips were made by Chinese mainlanders in 2017.


Newspaper headline: Draft rules aid Chinese abroad


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