China adopts foreign national immunity law that allows foreign states to be sued domestically


The Fourteenth National People’s Congress of China’s Fifth Session,

, concluded on Friday. The assembly is the highest legislative body of the state. Its final resolutions modify existing laws. Zhao Leji was the chairman of the committee. On this occasion, legislators decided to adopt the revised Administrative Review Law, amend the Civil Procedure Law and adopt the law on foreign national immunity.

China’s Law on the Immunity of Foreign States, scheduled to become effective on January 1, 2024, regulates the system of foreign state immunity comprehensively. This legislation provides a framework for civil cases in Chinese courts that involve foreign states as defendants. This new law marks a change from the old policy of absolute immunity of states to one of limited immunity. According to the provisions of this law, Chinese courts will, under specific conditions, accept foreign states as defendants.The Law on the Immunity of Foreign States consists of 23 articles, with its core provisions covering several key aspects. It outlines the principles and exemptions for the immunity granted to foreign states as well as the principles and exclusions that apply to foreign state property. Furthermore, it includes the principle of reciprocity, which means that if a foreign state offers China a less favorable immunity regime than what is outlined in the law, the principle of reciprocity will be applied.

The third review project of the Administrative Review Law

strengthens the protection of administrative control and duty enforcement, enhances the relevant work requirements, improves the capacity of administrative control to handle administrative disputes, increases the number of applications for administrative control and popular initiatives and refines the administrative control jurisdiction system.The second-instance

civil procedural law project enhances provisions related to geographic jurisdiction of cases involving foreigners. The project aims to resolve jurisdictional conflicts, establish new standards, and improve the relevant provisions for determining foreign court jurisdiction. The amendments are also intended to enhance alignment with foreign immunity law principles.The congress decided to extend the program, allowing lawyers from special regions of the People’s Republic of China, namely

Macau and Hong Kong, to practice on the mainland of China in cities within the Greater Bay Area based on special licenses.Furthermore, an agreement on joint extradition

with Ecuador was ratified during the same session. At the same session, personnel appointments were approved, as well as necessary rotations of personnel in relation to responsibilities under the agreement. He underscored the importance of legal safeguards in building a strong state and did not overlook democratic practices, emphasizing their significance within the legislative process.

Additionally, a resolution was passed during the session to establish a strategic partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Benin. They established trade relations and plan to increase Benin’s imports to China. China pledged to encourage Chinese investors to invest more in Benin’s national companies.President Xi Jinping signed presidential orders to promulgate the laws and implement the decisions made during the congress.