In the past few years, the Chinese government under Xi Jinping has been increasingly discussing and deploying new legal tools to strengthen its position on matters of foreign affairs. This strategy is reflected in a recent speech by Xi Jinping on the theme of rule of law, which was published in early February in the Communist Party’s leading journal, Qiushi.
When talking about the international environment, Xi said, “the world has entered a period of turbulence and change, and international competition is increasingly manifested in disputes over systems, rules and laws. We must strengthen the construction of foreign-related laws and regulations, improve the efficiency of foreign-related law enforcement and judicial affairs, and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests.” He added that it was important for China to improve its laws and regulations related to sanctions, foreign interference and protecting overseas interests.
The speech is indicative of Beijing’s continuing desire to use legal tools as part of its foreign policy toolkit. In fact, over the years, there has been a gradual strengthening of China’s legal frameworks to this effect.