China's 'New Border Land Law': Everything You Need to Know

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India-China Border with its officials
Chinese and Indian soldiers at a border crossing from the Indian state of Sikkim in 2008. Beijing is defending its claim to 34 square miles of disputed land at a corner where China, India and Bhutan meet. Via: Nytimes.com

China approved a new 'Border Land Law' late last week, ostensibly to formalize its belligerence on the boundaries it shares with other nations. Given that this legislation was approved in the middle of a 17-month stalemate with the Indian army, this latest law appears to be geared against India more than any other Chinese neighbour.

Key Highlights

  • In an apparent move to formalise its belligerence on the borders it shares with other countries, China passed a new 'border law' late last week.
  • Given that this legislation was passed amidst the ongoing standoff with the Indian army for the last 17 months, this latest law seems aimed at India more than any other neighbour of China.
  • China's parliamentary body, the National People Congress passed the country's law on 23 October (Saturday). China shares land borders with 14 countries and the new land border law will come into effect from 1 January 2022.
  • It also states that China would form joint border committees with countries to negotiate land border management.
  • Demarcation of Land BordersThe law states that the state would set up boundary markers in all its land borders to mark its land borders.


On October 23, China's legislature body, the National People Congress, enacted the country's law (Saturday).


China has 14 land border nations, and the new land border law will take effect on January 1, 2022.

The following are the key aspects of the New Land Border law:


Border Security

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Chinese People's Armed Police force are in charge of border security. The two services' responsibilities include, among other things, repelling armed aggression and collaborating with local authorities to prevent, stop, and battle illicit border crossings.


It further specifies that local administrations at all levels in border provinces and autonomous areas must coordinate resource allocations for border infrastructure strengthening and assistance and coordinate with the armed forces.


Both the military and local governments would be responsible for ensuring security across its boundaries, infrastructure development, and the preservation of peace and order along its land borders under the overall control of the central agencies.


kashmir map
Kashmir map with Indo-china dispute / via: BBC


Efforts to Assist People Living in Border Areas

According to the law, the state would take steps to strengthen border public services and infrastructure, as well as improve the living circumstances and support the livelihoods of residents living in border districts.


The government would also use this law to promote education and public awareness among people living in border regions to "solidify China's sense of community, promote China's spirit, defend the country's unity and territorial integrity, strengthen citizens' sense of country and homeland security, and build a common spiritual home for the Chinese nation."


Neighbourly Cooperation

According to the legislation, China would handle its ties with its neighbours based on "equality and mutual benefit." China will also organize joint border committees with countries to negotiate land border management, according to the document. Similarly, military agencies in neighbouring countries with China will organize similar committees to settle border-related concerns.


Border Land Demarcation

According to the legislation, the state must place boundary markers along all of its land borders to designate its frontiers. The sort of markings to be used would be selected in consultation with the neighbouring countries.


Activities Near Borders are Prohibited

The legislation forbids the public and other organizations from engaging in any actions that "endanger national security or harm China's peaceful relations with its neighbours." It also prevents anyone from erecting any permanent structures near border regions without the government's permission.


Unmanned aerial aircraft are also prohibited from flying near border zones.


Citizen’s Responsibilities

Citizens and local organizations are required by law to work together to preserve the security and stability of land borders, safeguard boundary markers and border defence equipment, and collaborate and help inland border operations.


China's New Border Land law
Chinese Officials near LAC / Source: Swarajya


Summary: What it Actually Means?

China enacts a new "Border Land Law" to formalize its belligerence along its shared frontiers with other nations. The new land border law will take effect on January 1, 2022. The People's Liberation Army and the Chinese People's Armed Police force are in charge of border security. 


China has established a new land border management law that mandates the installation of boundary markers along all of its land borders. The government would also use this law to promote education and public awareness to improve people' feelings of country and homeland security.

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