Reuters exclusive on Tuesday revealed that US, Canadian, German and
Japanese ambassadors to China wrote a joint letter in late January
addressed to the Chinese Minister of Public Security, expressing concern
over three new or pending laws, which are about counterterrorism,
cyberspace security and management of foreign non-governmental
organizations. Later, the EU ambassador to China also made a coordinated
move and sent a letter voicing similar concerns.
The two letters were exposed on the eve of China’s yearly "two
sessions," - the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s
Political Consultative Conference. Such "good timing" might be on
purpose to attract more attention.
A joint bid by several ambassadors to pressure the Chinese authorities
is quite rare. But we don’t have to overreact. It is widely known
through media that the West has different opinions about the three laws.
As China is becoming highly integrated with the rest of the world, it is
inevitable and understandable that other countries care about China’s
policies and laws because they want their interests to be
As China should remain open to the world, it needs to take in different
opinions from outside, and even make proper concessions for enhanced
cooperation with other countries.
However, legislation is part of China’s sovereignty, and opinions from
outside cannot replace China’s legislative body in law-making. This is
an international norm which must be clearly recognized by these
Most of the concerns expressed by the West, on the one hand, aim at
protecting the interests of their enterprises and organizations, and on
the other hand, are meddling in China’s domestic affairs, such as human
rights. However, these "concerns" about Chinese human rights are mostly
for a handful of Chinese dissidents, who have been manipulated to make
waves in China.
The West is concerned about whether China can keep its arms open to the
world, but there are some problems with their perspectives. China will
not retreat on the path of opening-up, but it doesn’t mean it has to
adopt a laissez-faire and unbridled policy. The rule of law is an
integral part of opening-up.
In the initial stages of opening-up, China did make a lot of concessions
to other countries. Perhaps they have got used to all kinds of special
treatment, and feel unease when China reins in governance disorders. It
is anticipated that the outside will soon adapt to the new situation,
because what China is doing in terms of protecting national security
through legislation was done by the West long time ago.