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China

China does not like the coup in Myanmar

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Former Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (L) arrives to attend a welcoming banquet for the Belt and Road Forum hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 26 April, 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee/Pool).

Author: Enze Han, HKU

Since the military coup in Myanmar on 1 February 2021, there have been reports and allegations that China approves of or is able to spin the military takeover to its advantage. This is unlikely to be true.

Beijing has always considered the Tatmadaw to be incompetent and corrupt. Its mysterious behaviour and unpredictable nature has not sat well with the Chinese government in the past. When the military-backed Thein Sein government came into office in 2011, for example, the generals turned their backs on China, even though Beijing had previously tried to protect the government from international sanctions.

It was military men who turned out to be most damaging to China’s economic and strategic interests. Cancelations and threats to renegotiate existing contracts for Chinese investment in Myanmar, as well as warming relations with the United States during the Obama administration’s ‘Pivot to Asia’, sidelined China. A case in point is the shelved Myitsone Dam, where the Chinese company that invested in the initial stage of the project suffered massive financial losses. Beijing tends to view the Myanmar military as ungrateful, rapacious, greedy and a poor business partner.

Meanwhile, the past five years of National League for Democracy (NLD) rule under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi led Beijing to realise potential in working with her government. Aung San Suu Kyi visited Beijing relatively frequently and has remarked on the need to pursue friendly relations with China for the sake of Myanmar’s economic development. Bilateral economic relations have improved tremendously under the NLD government, with Myanmar actively participating in the China–Myanmar Economic Corridor as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Recently, Aung San Suu Kyi’s government also signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement that China has a strong interest in.

Myanmar has experienced significant economic growth under the NLD. This is in line with China’s economic interests in the region. China today is not only interested in the country’s natural resources, but is also looking for a market to sell its products.

China’s investment in the country is dependent on whether Myanmar has a stable, internationally accepted government. It would not be logical for China to support a military government sanctioned by the international community. If Myanmar comes under international sanctions again and its economy deteriorates, China loses a market for its products. China does not seem to benefit from a military coup in Myanmar.

Yet it is not possible for China to openly condemn the military’s actions because it has set no such precedent. The Chinese government does not condemn regime changes in other countries and Beijing is in no position to make an exception in Myanmar’s case.

Officially, non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries has long been a core principle of China’s foreign policy. There is no reason to expect China to make exception now. The recent statement issued by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Myanmar may be interpreted as urging all parties to peacefully solve the problem in accordance with Myanmar’s Constitution, a relatively soft statement.

While the UN Security Council (UNSC) released a press statement on 4 February expressing ‘deep concern’ at the coup, China and Russia blocked stronger language condemning the military takeover. This is consistent with China’s previous practices. Beijing has never supported any such condemnations at the United Nations and this time is no exception. This may not look good for China, particularly in the context of the negative portrayals its government faces in international media as well as domestically in Myanmar. But the UN statement does call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others in detention, expressing support for the democratic transition in Myanmar. It says UNSC members ‘stressed the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law’ and encourage ‘the pursuance of dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar’.

Explit language in support of Aung San Suu Kyi and her government and the disapproval for the coup indicates that China has come around to offer its tacit agreement that the coup is not the right thing.

While China may not like the events unfolding in Myanmar, it is unlikely to openly…

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China

Revealing the Encouraged Industries of Hainan in 2024: Unlocking Opportunities

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The 2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue, issued by the NDRC, MOF, and STA, aims to boost industries in the Hainan Free Trade Port. It prioritizes sectors like tourism, modern services, and high technologies, offering incentives for foreign investment and market access expansion since 2020. The Catalogue includes 176 entries across 14 categories, with 33 new additions focusing on cultural tourism, new energy, medicine and health, aviation, aerospace, and environmental protection.


The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the State Taxation Administration (STA), has issued the Catalogue of Industries Encouraged to Develop in Hainan Free Trade Port (2024 Version), hereinafter referred to as the “2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue.” The updated Catalogue took effect on March 1, 2024, replacing the previous 2020 Edition.

Beyond the industries already addressed in existing national catalogues, the new entries in the 2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue are based on practical implementation experiences and the specific needs within Hainan, prioritizing sectors such as tourism, modern services, and high technologies.

The Hainan FTP has been providing incentives to draw investors to invest and establish businesses in the region, especially foreign investment. Alongside a phased approach to opening the capital account and facilitating free capital movement, Hainan has significantly expanded market access for foreign enterprises since 2020, particularly in sectors such as telecommunications, tourism, and education.

The Hainan Encouraged Catalogue comprises two main sections:

Similar to the approach adopted by the western regions, foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) should always implement their production or operations in accordance with the Catalogue of Encouraged Industries for Foreign Investment.

On top of the industries already addressed in existing national catalogues, the 2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue encompasses 14 distinct categories and a total of 176 entries especially encouraged in the region, including 33 new additions compared to the 2020 Edition. These new entries predominantly span cultural tourism, new energy, medicine and health, aviation and aerospace, and ecological and environmental protection, among others.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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Key Guidelines for Companies in Compliance Audits for Personal Information Protection Standards

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China’s standards authority has released draft standards for personal information protection compliance audits, potentially making them mandatory for companies in 2023. The audits will require companies to undergo annual or biennial checks based on the number of people’s information they handle. The draft standards outline the audit process and requirements, seeking public feedback until September 11, 2024.


China’s standards authority has released draft standards for conducting personal information protection compliance audits. Regular compliance audits to ensure compliance with personal information protection regulations may become a requirement for companies in China under draft measures released in 2023. We explain the audit processes and requirements proposed in the draft standards.

The Standardization Administration of China (SAC) has released a set of draft standards for conducting personal information (PI) protection compliance audits. Under draft measures released by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) in August 2023, companies that process the PI of people in China are required to undergo regular compliance audits.

Specifically, companies that process the PI of over one million people must undergo a compliance audit at least once a year, while companies that process the PI of under one million people must carry out an audit at least once every two years. 

While the draft measures stipulate the obligations of the auditing body and the audit scope, the draft standards outline the specific audit process, including evidence management and permissions of the audit organization, as well as the professional and ethical requirements of auditors. 

The Secretariat of the National Cybersecurity Standardization Technical Committee is soliciting public feedback on the draft standards until September 11, 2024. Public comment on the draft measures released in August last year closed on September 2, 2023, but no updated document has yet been released. 

The draft standards outline five stages of the PI protection compliance audit: audit preparation, implementation, reporting, problem rectification, and archiving management. 

Auditors are required to accurately document identified security issues in the audit working papers, ensuring that the records are comprehensive, clear, and conclusive, reflecting the audit plan and its execution, as well as all relevant findings and recommendations. 

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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A Comprehensive Guide to China’s Expanded 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy at 37 Ports

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China has expanded its 144-hour visa-free transit policy, allowing travelers from 54 countries to visit certain areas without a visa. Zhengzhou in Henan Province and eight cities in Yunnan Province are now included. The policy aims to promote people-to-people exchange and requires travelers to meet specific requirements.


China has expanded the 144-hour visa-free transit policy, which allows people from certain countries to enjoy six days of travel to select areas of the country without applying for a visa beforehand, to cover 54 countries and 37 ports. Zhengzhou in Henan Province and eight more cities in Yunnan Province can benefit from this policy as of July 15, 2024. Amid China’s continuous efforts to promote people-to-people exchange, we explain who is eligible for the 144-hour visa-free transit and where in China you can travel on this special entry permit.

The National Immigration Administration (NIA) has expanded China’s 144-hour visa-free transit policy to 37 ports as of July 15, 2024. Zhengzhou aviation port in Henan now offers this policy, with the stay limited to the administrative region of Henan Province. The stay range of Yunnan Province’s policy has been expanded from Kunming to eight other cities (prefecture-level) including Lijiang, Yuxi, Pu’er, Chuxiong, Dali, Xishuangbanna, Honghe, and Wenshan. Additionally, Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, Lijiang Sanyi International Airport, and Mohan Railway Port have been added as ports applicable to the 144-hour visa-free transit policy.

In this article, we explain how this 144-hour visa-free transit policy works and summarize some frequently asked questions.  

Under the 144-hour visa-free transit policy, foreign travelers can enjoy a six-day stay in certain Chinese cities without a visa, provided they come from 54 eligible countries, enter and exit China from eligible ports, stay within the allowed cities and regions, as well as satisfy other requirements.  

To obtain this visa exemption, the foreign national must have a valid passport from one of the 54 countries, which are: 

As per the requirements of China’s National Immigration Authority (NIA), people applying for 144-hour visa-free transit must have: 

You may also be required to answer some questions at immigration control upon arrival.  

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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