China's top legislature adopts law on foreign state immunity, safeguarding state sovereignty equality
Published: Sep 01, 2023 11:13 PM
Law Photo:VCG

Law Photo:VCG

China's foreign state immunities law was passed on Friday at the 5th session of the Standing Committee of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, aiming to safeguard state sovereignty equality and promote friendly exchanges with foreign countries.

President Xi Jinping signed a presidential order to promulgate the law, which will take effect on January 1, 2024.

The law aims to clarify the jurisdiction of Chinese courts over civil cases involving foreign states and their property, protecting the legitimate rights and interests of related parties.

The formulation of the law in China is an important measure to promote the rule of law and facilitate high-level opening-up, according to a report by People's Daily on August 25.

The state immunity issue is an important matter in the fields of diplomacy and the judiciary. Since the 1970s, most countries in the world have implemented restrictive immunity through legislation and other measures.

The new law is part of China's efforts to coordinate the development of legislation on domestic and foreign affairs, and push forward the modernization of the nation's governance system and capability. It is also in line with international norms and common practices.

The state immunity law stipulates the exemptions of jurisdiction enjoyed by foreign states in China and some exceptions. 

In Article 3, foreign states and their properties have jurisdictional immunity from courts in China, unless otherwise provided for by the law.

Foreign states are not entitled to immunity from jurisdiction in certain situations, such as engaging in commercial activities, signing contracts with individuals for personal labor or services, or causing personal and property damage. 

Amid new challenges in foreign relations, China has been making efforts to improve the rule of law in foreign-related affairs. China's top legislature passed the Foreign Relations Law in June, marking a milestone as it enriched China's toolbox in the face of foreign interference and long-arm jurisdiction.

Global Times