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Experts: Strong foreign-related rule of law vital Release date: 2023-12-06    Source:China Daily

They say boost to legal system will help ensure high-level opening-up, protect nation's interests

The latest move by China's central leadership to facilitate the construction of a foreign-related legal system will serve to guarantee high-level opening-up and protect the legitimate interests of the country and its people, experts said.

The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the Party's core leadership, held a group study session on strengthening the development of the foreign-related legal system on Nov 27.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, emphasized at the session that strengthening foreign-related rule of law is a long-term requirement for building China into a strong country and achieving national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernization. It is also an urgent task for advancing high-level opening-up and dealing with external risks and challenges, he said.

Xi, who is also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, emphasized that the legal system related to foreign affairs is the foundation for rule of law in the sector, adding that foreign-related legislation, law enforcement, jurisdiction, law compliance and legal services should be advanced simultaneously.

Experts said Xi's speech will guide the construction of the foreign-related legal system, which is key to creating favorable law-based conditions and a sound external environment for Chinese modernization.

Huo Zhengxin, a law professor at the School of International Law at China University of Political Science and Law, said Xi's speech demonstrated that the central leadership has elevated the importance of foreign-related rule of law construction to an unprecedented height.

"At present, some countries' containment and so-called 'de-risking' or 'decoupling' from China pose unprecedented challenges to China's economic development and opening-up, so it's vital for us to strengthen the construction of the foreign-related legal system," he said.

Highlighting the significance of building a sound legal business environment, Huo said, "The improvement in the field of rule of law in foreign affairs will not only contribute to introducing foreign investments and enhancing the level of opening-up, but also to safeguarding our own legitimate rights and interests."

In short, he said, high-level opening-up requires high-quality rule of law, and high-quality rule of law will promote high-level opening-up.

At the session, Xi also emphasized that rule of law secured the best business environment and the foreign-related legal system must be improved to make it more open and transparent.

He said the protection of intellectual property rights must be strengthened and the legitimate rights and interests of foreign-funded companies must be safeguarded.

He also noted the need for China to align itself with and adopt high-standard international economic and trade rules, steadily expand institutional opening-up, and further promote trade and investment liberalization to develop a new system for a more open economy.

Measures and related laws and regulations should also be optimized to make life in China easier for foreign residents, Xi said.

Huang Jin, head of the Chinese Society of International Law, said the first step in creating a first-class business environment is improving the foreign-related legal system.

After witnessing the formulation and promulgation of multiple fundamental and important foreign-related laws over the years, including those on foreign state immunity, foreign relations and countering foreign sanctions, Huang said China's foreign-related legal system is becoming more systematic, integrated and synergistic.

Advancing opening-up by rule of law is the essence of high-quality opening-up, Huang said, adding that intensifying the construction of foreign-related rule of law will better unify domestic development with opening-up, and link China's growth with that of the world.

It is not the first time that the central leadership has highlighted the construction of rule of law in matters of foreign affairs.

During the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in 2014, the central leadership said it was imperative to improve the system of laws and regulations concerning foreign affairs to constantly deepen opening-up.

At the first central conference on work related to overall law-based governance in 2020, when Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law was established, Xi stressed the need to take a coordinated approach to promoting rule of law at home and in matters involving foreign parties, demanding efforts to better safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

In November 2021, when the sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee was held in Beijing, the central leadership demanded greater legislative efforts in foreign fields, and in a group study a month later it reiterated the need to strengthen lawmaking in the foreign affairs sector.

Huo, the law professor, said, "Improving an open and transparent foreign-related legal system can give business entities at home and abroad a greater sense of security, which will be good for both attracting foreign investors and helping Chinese enterprises go global."

With the profound reshaping of the global value chain, every country needs to be in agreement with rules and standards, Huo said, adding that China's need to further promote reforms through opening-up has demanded deeper integration of globalization and participation in international competition.

He said that taking the initiative to align with high-standard international economic and trade rules and build institutional systems and regulatory models to meet the rules will help China increase its influence in the global industrial, supply and innovation chains, and give it a greater voice in international economic governance.

By Cao Yin