China Passes Retaliatory Export-Control Law Following US Moves

October 18, 2020 Updated: October 18, 2020

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has passed a new law restricting exports of controlled items, allowing the regime to reciprocate against the United States as tensions mount between the sides over trade and technology.

The law, which will apply to all companies in China, was passed Saturday by the regime’s rubber stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, and will take effect on Dec. 1.

Under the law, the Chinese regime can take “reciprocal measures” toward countries or regions it sees as abusing export controls and threatening its national security and interests.

Export controls under the law will apply to civilian, military, and nuclear products, as well as goods, technologies, and services related to national security. A list of controlled items will be published in conjunction with relevant departments, according to the law.

machine loads goods to a container ship
A worker looks as machine loads goods to a container ship at a dockyard in Qingdao in east China’s Shandong province on Sept. 25, 2020. (Chinatopix Via AP)

The new law allows Beijing to retaliate against the United States, which in recent months has blocked Chinese technology firms such as telecommunications gear supplier Huawei, Bytedance’s TikTok app, and Tencent’s messaging app WeChat on grounds of posing a national security threat, including the data they may possess from operating in the country.

Both WeChat and TikTok collect vast swaths of data from users and are active participants in China’s “civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP,” according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

Companies and individuals who breach the new export control law, including those outside of China, could face criminal charges. Violations of the law, such as exporting items without a permit, could result in fines of 5 million yuan ($746,500), or up to 20 times the business value of the illegal transaction.

Workers load an exported subway train cartridge
Workers load an exported subway train cartridge to a container ship at a dockyard in Qingdao in east China’s Shandong province on Sept. 25, 2020. (Chinatopix via AP)

The new law adds to the growing uncertainty of Bytedance’s deal to sell its video app TikTok to U.S. firm Oracle Corp. In August, China added technologies including voice recognition, text analysis, and content recommendation to its list of regulated exports.

President Donald Trump had earlier ordered Bytedance to sell its U.S. operations of TikTok to an American firm or face a ban in the country.

The new export control law adds to China’s growing regulatory toolkit that allows it to retaliate against countries’ actions.

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.