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China's new law to improve foreign state immunity system: spokesperson

Source: Xinhua | 2023-09-06
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China's new law to improve foreign state immunity system: spokesperson

BEIJING, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- China has passed a law to improve China's foreign state immunity system, stipulating the rules for Chinese courts to handle civil cases involving a foreign state and its property, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said Tuesday.

The spokesperson made the remarks in response to a query about the Law of the People's Republic of China on Foreign State Immunity, reviewed and passed by the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress 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.

The law affirms the fundamental principle that a foreign state and its property enjoy immunity in China, and at the same time stipulates exceptions relating to non-sovereign acts 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 spokesperson said.

The law also states that Chinese courts can take compulsory judicial measures against a foreign state's commercial property under strictly limited circumstances, and it fully adheres to international law and is also consistent with general state practices, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said enacting the law is a normal legislative activity conducted by the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, which 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, according to the spokesperson.

"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," the spokesperson added.

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