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China passes export-control measure amid tensions with US


China has passed new laws that restrict the export of controlled items such as military and nuclear items, technologies, services and data.

Though no countries were singled out in the announcement, this move comes a month after the U.S. heightened tensions with Beijing by inhibiting exports of China’s biggest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. The U.S. government has taken a series of actions against Chinese-owned tech businesses like Huawei and TikTok for possible threats to national security.

The law, set to take effect on Dec. 1, was passed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the highest legislative body in China. On the National People’s Congress website the law was said to be “formulated for the purpose of safeguarding national security and interests.”

The new legislation will allow the Chinese government to retaliate against countries or regions that abuse export controls and threaten their national security and interests. Companies or individuals who are found to violate these export laws could be punished with a fine of 5 million yuan ($746,500), or twenty times the value of any business transactions that break the law, according to the Associated Press.

Apart from concerns for national security, President Trump’s repeated blame on China for the COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to worsening relations between China and the U.S. 

On Thursday, the AP reported that officials from the U.S. State Department had advised the Nevada government to not use 250,000 Chinese-made testing kits donated to the state by the United Arab Emirates. Officials were concerned that the tests lacked sufficient accuracy and put patient privacy at risk. The tests were made by the BGI Group, a Chinese company that is the largest genetic sequencing company in the world. BGI denied having access to patient data.

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