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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s Remarks on Rolling out the Law on Foreign State Immunity
2023-09-05 11:50

Q: The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress reviewed and passed the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Foreign State Immunity at a recent session. The law adjusted China’s previous stance of absolute state immunity and authorized courts in China to hear lawsuits against foreign states. What’s the reason for such an adjustment?

A: Enacting the Law on Foreign State Immunity is a normal legislative activity conducted by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress. The law stipulates provisions related to foreign state immunity in line with international practices and aims to improve China’s foreign state immunity system. The law stipulates the rules for Chinese courts to handle civil cases involving a foreign State and its property, with a view to protecting the lawful rights and interests of the parties concerned, safeguarding the sovereign equality of States, and promoting friendly exchanges with other countries, which all in turn boost China’s higher-level opening-up.

The Law on Foreign State Immunity affirms the fundamental principle that a foreign State and its property enjoy immunity in China, at the same time stipulates exceptions relating to non-sovereign act of a foreign State, under which Chinese courts can exercise jurisdiction, such as cases involving disputes arising out of a commercial activity, relevant personal injury and property damage. The Law also states that Chinese courts can take compulsory judicial measures against a foreign State’s commercial property under strictly limited circumstances. It fully adheres to international law and it is also consistent with general state practices.

As a responsible major country, China firmly upholds the principle of sovereign equality and will faithfully implement this Law to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals and legal persons and respect the immunities enjoyed by foreign States under international law.

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