BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping called for stronger rule of law in foreign affairs in view of “external risks and challenges” as the country opens up to the world, media reported on Tuesday.
Xi, speaking at a study session of the Communist Party’s powerful politburo, said to protect its citizens and overseas interests, it is necessary to deepen international enforcement cooperation laws, strengthen consular protection and assistance and build a strong rule of law.
Private Chinese companies have faced overseas legal challenges in recent years, from U.S. accusations over counterfeit and pirated products sold on online platforms owned by Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group, to measures aimed at ban the TikTok app, owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance, in Nepal.
Xi said in his speech on Monday that it is necessary to raise awareness among the public and businesses about respecting laws, regulations and customs in the process of “globalization.”
To facilitate economic and trade exchanges, officials say Chinese law firms have established 180 overseas branches in 35 countries and regions, an increase of nearly 50% since 2018.
China should actively develop overseas-related legal services and cultivate world-class arbitration institutions and law firms, Xi said.
But authorities in some Western countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, have accused China of illegally setting up “overseas policing centers.” to monitor its citizens living abroad, accusations that Beijing vehemently denies.
China says the centers are meant to help its citizens renew expired driver’s licenses and are run by Chinese volunteers rather than law enforcement.
The call to better protect citizens abroad coincides with recent outbreaks of conflict in countries like Ukraine and Sudan, which have led China to organize the evacuation of its citizens.
China has staged 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.
(By Ryan Woo)
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