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Vote Delayed on Extending Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law to Hong Kong

On August 20, 2021, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress adjourned its meeting. Standing Committee Member Tan Yaozong from Hong Kong stated to Hong Kong 01 that the Standing Committee did not vote on the draft for incorporating the China Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law (June 210, 2021) into Annex III of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of China.  

The Basic Law is a national law of China that serves as the de facto Hong Kong constitution. With 160 articles and three annexes, the Basic Law was enacted under the Constitution of China to implement the Sino-British Joint Declaration and went into effect July 1, 1997, in Hong Kong. An affirmative vote by the Standing Committee on August 20, 2021, would have extended China’s Anti-Foreign Sanction Law to Hong Kong by adding it as Annex III of the Basic Law.

According to Tan, the Standing Committee deliberated on the proposal to add Annex III to the Basic Law, but the chairman’s meeting decided not to vote for the time being but rather, to continue to study related issues.

A few days earlier, Tan said that on August 20, 2021, the Standing Committee would discuss and consider including the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law in Annex III of the Basic Law. Tan Yaozong expressed that the draft to be discussed was relatively simple. It only required that the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law be included in Annex III of the Basic Law and that the SAR government establishes relevant systems. It would not discuss specific implementation details in Hong Kong and has not set a legislative timetable for Hong Kong.

On June 10, 2021, the 29th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress passed the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law. The Chinese Communist Party intends the law to oppose foreign sanctions against China, counter foreign discriminatory measures, and respond to the “long-arm jurisdiction” of the United States.

According to the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, China’s State Council may deal with measures such as denial of visa, denial of entry, deportation, seizure and freezing of property in China, and prohibiting or restricting doing business in China.

Hong Kong economist Luo Jiacong said that more than 200 banks are currently in Hong Kong, and more than 80 percent of them are foreign banks. If China extends the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law to Hong Kong, it is estimated that foreign banks will choose to leave Hong Kong because they will not give up their U.S. dollar business. 

Analysts warned that the surprising decision on August 20 to defer extending the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law to Hong Kong does not signal any retreat or U-turn on retaliatory steps against the West. Instead, the CCP may opt for a more tailored retaliatory approach in order not to jeopardize Hong Kong’s financial hub.


1.) Hong Kong 01, August 20, 2021.

2.) Radio Free Asia, August 13, 2021

3.) Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law of the People’s Republic of China, June 10, 2021