China Intensifies Border Control and Exit Bans
Under President Xi Jinping's administration, the Chinese government has tightened border controls and increased the use of exit bans in response to growing concerns about corporate data security
Photo: COP PARIS
These measures are part of a larger plan to protect sensitive data and maintain control over national data and intellectual property. However, they have raised concerns about individual liberties and the potential impact on international relations.
Exit Bans and Border Control
China has significantly increased its use of exit bans under President Xi Jinping's leadership. According to a comprehensive report by Safeguard Defenders, China enacted four additional laws permitting exit bans between 2018 and 2022, totaling 14 laws.
The Supervision Law, for example, allows exit bans to be imposed on individuals under investigation or connected to a case, even if they are not suspects.
These restrictions are often used to prevent people suspected of possessing sensitive information from leaving the country and to pressure foreign governments and businesses in diplomatic or commercial disputes.
In addition to exit bans, China has tightened border control procedures, making it increasingly difficult for both Chinese citizens and foreign nationals to leave the country.
Corporate Data Clampdown
The current border control measures primarily stem from the Chinese government's efforts to limit the outflow of corporate data.
As previously reported by Overt Operator, China's updated counter-espionage act protects documents, data, and materials related to national security. These updates establish strict safeguards to prevent sensitive information, particularly technology and trade secrets, from falling into the hands of foreign competitors.
The policies aim to promote domestic innovation while protecting China's strategic interests and maintaining a competitive edge in the global market.
Impact on Individual Rights and Legal Recourse
The growing use of exit bans and stricter border control measures has sparked significant concerns over individual rights protection in China.
The arbitrary nature of these restrictions challenges fundamental principles of due process and human rights. Lawyers, journalists, and foreign business executives have frequently been targeted by the bans.
Exit bans often leave those affected with no legal recourse, causing uncertainty and potentially ruining their personal and professional lives.
Effect on International Relations
Concerns have been raised about the consequences of China's strengthened border controls and increased use of exit bans on global trade and diplomacy.
As travel and information exchange become more difficult, there is growing apprehension that China's measures will exacerbate existing tensions between the country and other global powers like the United States and the European Union.
Additionally, these policies may have unintended consequences for the Chinese economy, stifling growth and development by limiting international collaboration and investment.
The international community is closely monitoring the situation as China tightens its border controls and employs exit bans more extensively.
While these actions may provide China with the security it seeks for its national interests, the long-term impact on individual liberties and international relations remains uncertain. The coming months and years will reveal how these regulations affect the world's interactions with the Asian giant and whether a more collaborative approach to data security is feasible.
Achieving a balance between national interests and global stability will require continued dialogue and collaboration between China and the international community.