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Can China’s New “Blocking Statute” Combat Foreign Sanctions?

by Jingru Wang, Wuhan University Institute of International Law

  1. Background

A blocking statute is adopted by a country to hinder the extraterritorial application of foreign legislation.[1] For example, the EU adopted Council Regulation No 2271/96 (hereinafter “EU Blocking Statute”) in 1996 to protest the US’s extraterritorial sanctions legislation concerning Cuba, Iran and Libya.[2] Since Donald Trump became the US president, the US government officially defined China as its competitor.[3] Consequently, China has been increasingly targeted by US sanctions. For example, in 2018, the US imposed broad sanctions on China’s Equipment Development Department (EDD), the branch of the military responsible for weapons procurement and its director for violating the US law on sanctions against Russia.[4] In 2020, the US announced new sanctions on Chinese firms for aiding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.[5] A number of “Belt and Road” countries are targeted by US primary sanctions, which means that Chinese entities may face a high risk of secondary sanctions for trading with these countries. In these contexts, Chinese scholars and policy makers explore the feasibility to enact blocking law to counter foreign sanctions.[6] On 9 January 2021, China’s Ministry of Commerce (hereinafter “MOFCOM”) issued “Rules on Counteracting Unjustified Extraterritorial Application of Foreign Legislation and Other Measures” (hereinafter “Chinese Blocking Rules”), which entered into force on the date of the promulgation.[7]

 

  1. Analysis of the Main Content

Competent Authority: Chinese government will establish a “Working Mechanism” led by the MOFCOM and composed of relevant central departments, such as the National Development and Reform Commission. The Working Mechanism will take charge of counteracting unjustified extraterritorial application of foreign legislation and other measures (Art. 4).

The Chinese villages win a lawsuit in China to repatriate a Mummified Buddha Statue hold by a Dutch Collector —What Role has Private International Law Played?

The Chinese villages win a lawsuit in China to repatriate a Mummified Buddha Statue hold by a Dutch Collector

—What Role has Private International Law Played?

By Zhengxin Huo, Professor of Law, China University of Polit’l Science and Law; Associate Member of International Academy of Comparative Law; Observer of the UNESCO 1970 Convention. Email: zhengxinh@cupl.edu.cn. The author would like to thank Dr. Meng YU for valuable comments.

  1. Introduction

On 4 December 2020, the Sanming Intermediate People’s Court of China’s southeastern Province of Fujian rendered a judgment ordering the Dutch defendants to return a stolen 1,000-year-old Buddhist mummy, known as the statue of Zhanggong-zushi, to its original owner: two village committees in the Province within 30 days after the verdict comes into effect. [1]

Anti-Suit Injunction Issued in China: Comity, Pragmatism and Rule of Law

1 Anti-suit Injunctions issued in Huawei v Conversant and Xiaomi v Intel Digital

Chinese courts have issued two anti-suit injunctions recently in cross-border patent cases. The first is the Supreme Court’s ruling in Huawei v Conversant, (2019) Zui Gao Fa Zhi Min Zhong 732, 733 and 734 No 1. (here) Huawei, a Chinese telecom giant brought an action on 25 Jan 2018 in Jiangsu Nanjing Intermediate Court requiring determination of FRAND royalty for all Chinese patents held by Conversant that is essential to 2G, 3G and 4G standard (standard essential patent or ‘SEP’). Conversant brought another action in Düsseldorf, Germany on 20 April 2018 claiming Huawei infringed its German patents of the same patent family. On 16 Sept 2019, the Chinese court ordered a relatively low rate pursuant to Chinese standard and Conversant appealed to the Supreme Court on 18 Nov 2019. On 27 Aug 2020, the German Court held Huawei liable and approved the FRAND fee proposed by Conversant, which is 18.3 times of the rate determined by the Chinese court. Pursuant to Huawei’s application, the Chinese Supreme Court restrained Conversant from applying the German court to enforce the German judgment. The reasons include: the enforcement of the Düsseldorf judgment would have a negative impact on the case pending in Chinese court; an injunction is necessary to prevent irreparable harm to Huawei; the damage to Conversant by granting the injunction is significantly smaller than the damage to Huawei if not granting injunction; injunction will not harm public interest or international comity.

Chinese court refuses enforcement of an IFTA Arbitration award

Shawn He reported recently on a Chinese judgment refusing the declaration of enforceability of an arbitral award issued by the Independent Film & Television Alliance Arbitration Court.

The Tianjin Intermediate People’s Court dismissed the application on two grounds: No standing to be sued of the Chinese company, and notification vices.

One point which should be highlighted is the duration of the proceedings: The application was filed on March 2018, and the judgment (in first instance) was rendered on May 2020…

 

Supreme Court of California (ROCKEFELLER TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENTS (ASIA) v. CHANGZHOU SINOTYPE TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD). A European reading of the ruling

A bit more than a month ago, the Supreme Court of California rendered its decision on a case concerning the (non-)application of the 1965 Hague Service Convention. The case has been thoroughly reported and commented before and after  the ruling of the Supreme Court. I will refrain from giving the full picture of the facts; I will focus on the central question of the dispute.

THE FACTS

The parties are U.S. and Chinese business entities. They entered into a contract wherein they agreed to submit to the jurisdiction of California courts and to resolve disputes between them through California arbitration. They also agreed to provide notice and “service of process” to each other through Federal Express or similar courier. The exact wording of the clause in the MOU reads as follows:

Chinese Practice in Private International Law in 2018

Qisheng He, Professor of International Law at the Peking University Law School, and Director of the Peking University International Economical Law Institute, has published a survey on the Chinese practice in Private International Law in 2018. The full title of the article is the following: The Chronology of Practice: Chinese Practice in Private International Law in 2018.

The article has been published by the Chinese Journal of International Law, a journal published by Oxford University Press.  This is the 6th survey published by Prof. He on the topic.

 

Prof. He has prepared an abstract of his article, which goes as follows: