The International Trade Council (ITC) expresses deep concern over the increasing use of exit bans by Chinese authorities, impacting both Chinese nationals and foreigners attempting to leave the country. Recent reports and research highlight a surge in cases involving exit bans, sending a troubling message amidst China's claims of openness for business.
The ITC acknowledges the report by Safeguard Defenders, which reveals that numerous individuals, including foreign executives, have been subjected to exit bans. Such restrictions on movement raise alarm among foreign business lobby groups, contradicting China's professed openness for international investment and travel.
The ITC firmly believes in upholding the principles of freedom of movement and respecting the rights of individuals. It is essential for countries to provide a legal framework that ensures the fair treatment of citizens and foreigners, as well as transparency in legal procedures.
The increasing use of exit bans within the context of China-US tensions further exacerbates concerns. The ITC urges all parties to prioritize dialogue and peaceful resolutions to trade and security disputes. A harmonious international trade environment requires mutual respect, open communication, and adherence to international norms and standards.
China's recent strengthening of its counter-espionage law, allowing exit bans on individuals under investigation, raises additional concerns. The ITC calls for clear and justifiable criteria in the application of exit bans, ensuring that they are not used arbitrarily or as a tool for repression.
Foreign businesses express valid concerns regarding the heightened scrutiny and vague wording of the counter-espionage legislation. The ITC encourages Chinese authorities to provide clarity and transparency to alleviate the uncertainties faced by businesses operating in China.
The ITC reiterates its commitment to promoting international trade and economic cooperation based on fairness, transparency, and respect for human rights. We call upon all nations to uphold these values and engage in meaningful dialogue to address issues that affect global trade and the well-being of individuals.