EU’s China envoy says consultancy crackdown, anti-spy law worrying for business

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The European Union’s ambassador to China said on Tuesday that a broadening of Beijing’s anti-espionage law and investigations into consultancies operating there were concerning and could hurt efforts to open up its economy.

Chinese lawmakers last month approved a wide-ranging expansion of its counter-espionage law which broadened the definition of spying and barred the transfer of any information pertaining to national security.

Such a move could allow for actions “not very conducive” to China’s stated aim of opening up its economy to more foreign investment, Jorge Toledo Albinana said at a press conference held in Beijing.

Separately, Albinana expressed his concerns about Beijing’s recent investigations into consultancies that state media said arepart of a crackdown on efforts to steal state secrets and intelligence in areas key to China.

“The latest news on crackdowns on consultancies is not good news,” Albinana said.

The European Union is one of China’s biggest trade partners and a top source of foreign investment.

State media reported on Monday that Chinese authorities have carried out an investigation into consulting firm Capvision Partners, which runs the country’s largest expert network and has offices around the world including Shanghai and New York.

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