September 27, 2023


Learn Business From Experience

China’s Courts, Cyberspying, Firm Raids, and My Congressional Testimony Concerning the Identical

7 min read

Earlier this month I testified earlier than the U.S. Congress’s U.S.-China Financial and Safety Evaluation Fee relating to Rule by Regulation in China. Go here for those who want to see my testimony and/or the complete day of testimony given by numerous way more knowledgeable China legislation professors.

That is the third time I’ve testified earlier than a Congressional commision relating to China, and the second time I’ve achieved so dwell. I point out the “dwell” half as a result of I discover strolling the halls of the Dirksen Senate Workplace Constructing and seeing the places of work of United States Senators is a tremendous and humbling expertise. I analogize it to how I felt the primary time I attended a Main League Baseball sport I ever attended — coincidentally additionally in Washington DC. I used to be about seven years outdated and I nonetheless bear in mind strolling up the steps and strolling out by way of a gap to have a look at the sphere. I can nonetheless image the enormous discipline with the attractive and completely manicured grass as if it have been yesterday. I used to be in awe. Complete awe.

Having the chance to assist the U.S. authorities — by a miniscule quantity — creates that very same sense of awe for me. To cite Winston Churchill: “Democracy is the worst type of Authorities aside from all these different types which have been tried infrequently.”

Anyway, the beneath is the written testimony I supplied to the Fee earlier than I testified dwell.


My identify is Dan Harris. I’m a world lawyer who has for the final 20 years been serving to American and European firms navigate China’s authorized panorama. I point out this as a result of a lot of what I’m going to inform you at this time is predicated on what I’ve seen whereas representing firms that do enterprise in or with China.

I’ll largely be speaking about how the Chinese language Communist Celebration makes use of legal guidelines and laws to maximise its energy and management to the detriment of American firms. This can be a tactic often known as lawfare.

I’ve seen firsthand how China employs lawfare to hurt American companies, and I’ve additionally seen how China’s lawfare towards American firms elevated when Xi Jinping grew to become the CCP’s highest rating officer in 2013, and once more when he grew to become “president for all times” earlier this 12 months. The worldwide humiliation China suffered from the spy balloon incident, coupled with our authorities’s efforts to disclaim China entry to modern chip know-how, make me assured that China’s lawfare towards American firms will proceed to extend.


QUESTION ONE. How is the CCP’s political affect more and more shaping authorized rulings in home Chinese language courts? What’s the expertise of U.S. corporations in Chinese language courts on points which are influenced by nationalism or Celebration targets? How have these circumstances modified below Xi Jinping?

 My shoppers typically ask me concerning the equity of China’s courts and my reply has at all times been the identical. In case you are suing a Chinese language firm for breaching a contract to make rubber duckies, you possible will get a good trial. In case you are suing a Chinese language firm for stealing cutting-edge semiconductor mental property, good luck.

Many China attorneys name this the 90-10 rule. Ninety p.c of the time the Chinese language courts rule pretty as a result of that permits China’s financial system to operate and that in the end advantages the CCP. But when a case is important to CCP energy and management, equity will get tossed out the window. That ten p.c is lawfare.

Xi Jinping typically makes clear that China’s nationwide safety pursuits are broader and extra necessary than they as soon as have been, and that China’s financial and funding pursuits are actually narrower and fewer necessary. Studying the writing on the wall – writing that has largely been propagated by state-owned media retailers – the Chinese language courts have acted accordingly. Which means the variety of circumstances Chinese language judges see as implicating China’s nationwide safety pursuits have elevated. And this has been to the detriment of international firms.


Focus on the design and implementation of China’s cybersecurity legislation. What prompted its introduction and what sectors is it geared in direction of? Is it equally enforced for home and international corporations? How is it shaping the business conduct of international corporations working in China or doing enterprise with Chinese language firms?

 Underneath China’s cybersecurity legislation, the CCP has authorized entry to any knowledge saved in China. This legislation  additionally provides authorized entry to knowledge held by any firm or particular person in China, wherever that knowledge could also be saved. This has primarily at all times been true, however with every iteration within the legislation, entry has grow to be extra express. China has enacted these legal guidelines and laws so the CCP can monitor just about every little thing in China.

The CCP solely hardly ever makes use of its energy to mandate {that a} international firm flip over its knowledge, however it is because it already has prepared entry to all knowledge in China. The CCP controls China’s web, communication programs, and server farms. The CCP has pushed practically every little thing — from utility payments to each day communication — into WeChat so it could actually monitor what everybody does in China. It has achieved a lot the identical factor with firm knowledge.


What authorized recourse do multinationals have after they really feel that their proprietary know-how or cybersecurity has been compromised? Focus on the expertise of corporations searching for to guard delicate applied sciences in Chinese language courts, with a deal with corporations creating know-how helpful to the CCP.

 Multinationals generally file IP theft circumstances in Chinese language courts. If that lawsuit includes rubber ducky know-how, they’ll prevail. But when their case includes cutting-edge semiconductor know-how, they hardly ever can prevail. The extra cutting-edge and necessary the know-how, the much less possible the multinational will prevail in an IP case in a Chinese language court docket.

Multinationals typically can sue a Chinese language firm outdoors of China. But when a multinational secures a judgment or award outdoors China and that judgment or award must be enforced in China – which is usually the case — that enforcement will happen solely whether it is within the CCP’s curiosity.


What are different main legal guidelines, such because the anti-monopoly legislation, or enforcement patterns, corresponding to China’s tendency towards regulatory crackdowns, that China makes use of to tilt the taking part in discipline in favor of its personal corporations or advance coverage targets? How do these legal guidelines and their implementation affect U.S. pursuits, and what can the US do to mitigate or stop this affect? 

 China’s new counter-espionage legislation expands the definition of espionage to incorporate any “gadgets associated to nationwide pursuits,” with none parameters for what constitutes nationwide pursuits. This vagueness within the legislation is meant to permit the CCP to arrest anybody at any time.

The CCP will use this legislation towards foreigners and Chinese language residents which are seen as too near foreigners. It will make it tough and costly for international firms to rent and retain workers in China. In flip, this can cut back international firm competitiveness in China.

China excludes international firms from many industries. Whereas we debate banning TikTok, all main U.S. social media platforms are primarily banned from working in China.

If the CCP or the Chinese language individuals are offended with a specific nation, you possibly can anticipate the CCP to crack down on firms from that nation. The CCP doesn’t randomly select the businesses on which it cracks down. It chooses firms based mostly on the message its crackdown will ship. The current raids towards The Mintz Group and Bain & Firm have been to ship the message that the CCP controls details about China and it’ll punish those that search to disclose info the CCP doesn’t need revealed.


The Fee is remitted to make coverage suggestions to Congress based mostly on its hearings and different analysis. What are your suggestions for Congressional motion associated to the subject of your testimony?    

 The CCP will harass and discriminate towards American firms till there are not any extra American firms in China.

The easiest way for the U.S. authorities to scale back CCP strong-arming towards U.S. firms is to assist these firms go away China. The U.S. authorities ought to present loans and grants to American firms that transfer their operations or manufacturing from China to the U.S. or to an allied nation. Australia and Japan have achieved this, and we should always too—perhaps considerably alongside the strains of what we’re doing with the semiconductor trade. The U.S. authorities must also enact laws that encourages imports from international locations that share our values and we needs to be doing extra to cease American funding of Chinese language firms that function towards our safety pursuits.



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