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National Land Boundary Law of China (2021)

National Land Boundary Law (hereinafter “the Law”, 陆地国界法) was promulgated on 23 Oct. 2021 and entered into force on 1 Jan. 2022.

The Law consists of 62 articles, intending to ensure the security and stability of land borders and frontiers, promote good neighborliness, and facilitate exchange and cooperation between China and its land neighbors.

China shares a land border of about 22,000 km with 14 countries, including North Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.

The main takeaways of the Law are as follows.

1. Will China make unilateral decisions to change the border situations with related countries?


China will adhere to relevant treaties related to national land boundary affairs China has already concluded or acceded to. (Atc.14)

China will proceed with the demarcation of the national land boundaries and strengthen the defense, management, and construction of border areas in accordance with the Law. (Art. 2)

With respect to the border issues left over from history, China will adhere to the principle of equality, mutual trust, and friendly consultation, hoping to provide resolutions through negotiation. (Art. 15)

2. Can individuals enter China through national land boundaries?

No. Any individual is strictly prohibited from crossing the border illegally. (Art. 38)

Individuals entering and leaving the country through national land boundaries are subject to inspection, quarantine, and supervision by responsible authorities. (Art. 37)

3. Can China impose pandemic control in border areas?

Yes. China can establish cooperation mechanisms with its land neighbors for pandemic prevention and control including information communication and sharing, technology, and talent exchange. (Art. 56)

In the meantime, China is entitled to seal the border and close the ports when serious pandemic situations occur. (Art. 47(3))



Cover Photo by Frankie Ng on Unsplash

Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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