China’s Foreign Relations Law &
Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Growing Influence


By: The Editorial Board of SINOTALKS® / On: July 12, 2023

Image: Alex Grichenko, International Flag Alley,

SinoExpress™, a monthly newsletter of SINOTALKS®, delivers select significant updates pertaining to China law, policy, and business.  Founded in 2021 by Dr. Mei Gechlik, SINOTALKS® empowers business executives and policymakers with knowledge about China law and policy and helps them leverage our knowledge and networks to seize global opportunities.

Today, we launch SinoExpress™ in response to the global growth of SINOTALKS®:

  • Dr. Mei Gechlik’s newsletter, SINOTALKS® In Brief, has more than 4,500 subscribers, many of whom are leaders in their industries.  
  • The two websites of SINOTALKS® (i.e., and have attracted approximately 70,000 users from 150 countries. 
  • SINOTALKS® has nearly 2,000 followers on LinkedIn.

Update #1: China’s Foreign Relations Law Came into Effect on July 1, 2023

With the goal to, among others, “promote the coordinated and sustainable development of the economy, society, and the environment and the all-round development of human beings”, the Foreign Relations Law of the People’s Republic of China (“FRL”) regulates China’s “development of diplomatic relations with other countries” and the country’s “development of exchanges and cooperation with other countries in various fields such as the economy and culture”.  The FRL also regulates China’s “development of relations with the United Nations and other international organizations”.

With respect to environmental issues, Article 25 of the FRL states:

The People’s Republic of China actively participates in global environmental and climate governance, strengthens green and low-carbon international cooperation, seeks to build a global ecological civilization, and promotes the establishment of a fair, reasonable, cooperative, and win-win global environmental and climate governance system.

“It will be an occasion for the world to see how China will put into practice its environmental commitments […].”

Worth noting:
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry is scheduled to visit China in mid-July to resume in-person climate talks with his Chinese counterparts. It will be an occasion for the world to see how China will put into practice its environmental commitments stated in the FRL.

Update #2: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Has Become an Important Global Force

Formed in Shanghai in June 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization just granted full membership to Iran. With nine full members (i.e., China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) representing nearly half of the world’s population and the issues addressed having broadened from security to development, this intergovernmental organization has evolved to become an important force in helping address complex issues facing the world.

“[…] will China be able to help the organization engage as requested by the [U.N.] Secretary-General?”

Worth noting:
The global climate crisis is one such complex issue.  On July 4, 2023, in a speech addressed to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres identified “climate action” as “the fight of our lives” and called on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to act because members of the organization “have an important role to play”.  Specifically, the Secretary-General urged the organization’s “strong engagement in preparations” for the Sustainable Development Goals Summit and Climate Ambition Summit that are both scheduled to take place in September, and the Summit of the Future being organized for next year at the United Nations headquarters.  As a founding member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, will China be able to help the organization engage as requested by the Secretary-General?

Featured Article #1: Law and Liability in the Age of Self-Driving Cars

Nancy Nan

In AlixPartners’ latest Global Automotive Outlook, the global consultancy drew a key conclusion: “China is increasingly becoming an automotive superpower”.  To effectively seize the opportunities arising from China’s expanding role in the automotive market, automotive companies need to be aware of all relevant compliance standards.

An important but inadequately understood regulatory framework is that surrounding the regulation of autonomous driving technologies in China’s automotive industry.  In this featured article, Nancy Nan, who was formerly a legal counsel at Tesla China and is currently a partner of Anjie Broad Law Firm as well as a non-E.U. expert representative of the International Chamber of Commerce’s Task Force on International Trade and State Aid, provides an informative overview of this framework.  Published in China Business Law Journal, the article covers a wide range of topics, including concepts related to autonomous driving, autopilot maps, road tests, and the determination and limitation of liability in traffic accidents.  The article is a useful compliance guide for automotive companies seeking to develop or apply autonomous driving technologies in China.

Featured Article #2: Bundle of Data Rights: A New Possibility to Protect the Space Right in the Metaverse 

GAO Qing

Meta’s impressive launch of Threads seems to have the potential to give the company an upper hand over Twitter.  Will the new app also help Meta build a strong base that will allow it to take its Metaverse business to another level?

The answer remains unclear.  What is clear, however, is that the success of a Metaverse business hinges on the protection of the rights to the space in the Metaverse.  In this featured article, which was published in Exploration and Free Views, Professor GAO Qing, an associate professor at China University of Political Science and Law, identifies the underlying data-driven nature of the Metaverse.  He, therefore, suggests that a comprehensive protection system for the rights to the space in the Metaverse should be based on data rights.  Given China’s strong interest in the development of the Metaverse (see, e.g., Metaverse, Digital Economy, & China’s Strategic Moves), it will be interesting to see if Professor Gao’s suggestions will be implemented and how they may impact the country.  His suggestions, together with China’s experience, may provide useful reference for other countries.

The citation of this article is: The Editorial Board of SINOTALKS®, China’s Foreign Relations Law & Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Growing Influence, SINOTALKS.COM®, SinoExpress™, July 12, 2023,