Canadian Sanctions Related to People’s Republic of China

Types of sanctions

Asset freeze

Financial Prohibitions

Recent developments

  • 2021-03-23 - Permit order was made
  • 2021-03-21 - Regulations entered into force
Do you need a permit or certificate?

Prohibitions

Sanctions related to China have been enacted under the Special Economic Measures Act in response to the gross and systematic human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

The Special Economic Measures (People’s Republic of China) Regulations impose a dealings prohibition, an effective asset freeze, on listed persons. The Regulations prohibit any person in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada from:

  • dealing in property, wherever situated, that is owned, held or controlled by a listed person or a person acting on behalf of a listed person;
  • entering into or facilitating any transaction related to a dealing prohibited by these Regulations;
  • providing any financial or related services in respect of a dealing prohibited by these Regulations;
  • making available any goods, wherever situated, to a listed person or a person acting on behalf of a listed person; and
  • providing any financial or other related services to or for the benefit of a listed person.

Causing, facilitating or assisting in prohibited activities is likewise prohibited.

The individuals listed in the Schedule to the Regulations are also inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Exceptions

The above-noted asset freeze and dealings prohibitions do not apply to the following activities or transactions:

  • payments made by or on behalf of designated persons pursuant to contracts entered into prior to the coming into force of the Regulations, provided that the payments are not made to or for the benefit of a designated person
  • payments made by or on behalf of a listed person pursuant to contracts entered into prior to the coming into force of the Regulations, provided that the payments are not made to a listed person or to a person acting on behalf of a listed person;
  • transactions necessary for a Canadian to transfer to a non-listed person any accounts, funds or investments of a Canadian held by a listed person on the day on which that person became listed;
  • dealings with a listed person required with respect to loan repayments made to any person in Canada, or any Canadian outside Canada, for loans entered into with any person other than a listed person, and for enforcement and realization of security in respect of those loans, or repayments by guarantors guaranteeing those loans;
  • dealings with a listed person required with respect to loan repayments made to any person in Canada, or any Canadian outside Canada, for loans entered into with a listed person before that person became a listed person, and for enforcement and realization of security in respect of those loans, or repayments by guarantors guaranteeing those loans;
  • pension payments to any person in Canada or any Canadian outside Canada;
  • financial services required in order for a listed person to obtain legal services in Canada with respect to the application of any of the prohibitions set out in these Regulations;
  • transactions in respect of accounts at financial institutions held by diplomatic missions, provided that the transaction is required in order for the mission to fulfill its diplomatic functions under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, or transactions required in order to maintain the mission premises if the diplomatic mission has been temporarily or permanently recalled;
  • transactions with any international organization with diplomatic status, agencies of the United Nations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, or with any entity that has entered into a grant or contribution agreement with Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; and
  • transactions by the Government of Canada that are provided for in any agreement or arrangement between Canada and Belarus.

Permits and Certificates

A separate Special Economic Measures (People’s Republic of China) Permit Authorization Order made pursuant to subsection 4(4) of the Special Economic Measures Act authorizes the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue to any person in Canada and any Canadian outside Canada a permit to carry out a specified activity or transaction, or any class of activity or transaction, that is otherwise restricted or prohibited pursuant to the Regulations.

Background

Since 2017, credible evidence and reports have continued to emerge of egregious human rights violations by Chinese authorities against Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) on the basis of their religion and ethnicity. This has included information from experts, investigative journalists, leaked government documents, firsthand testimonials and other data, which illustrate a systematic campaign of repression against Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities by the Chinese government in the XUAR.

Mounting evidence shows that the mass arbitrary detentions of Uyghur and other Muslim ethnic minorities, are directed by the central and regional Chinese governments under the pretext of countering terrorism and violent extremism. Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities face torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, obligatory patriotic and cultural education, forced labour. There is also mass arbitrary forced separation of children from their parents by authorities. There are credible reports of systematic rape and gender-based sexual violence. Witnesses and victims have also reported forced medical procedures absent the patient’s consent, including forced sterilization, abortions, contraceptive device insertion, and organ removal.

Throughout the region, Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities also face repressive physical and digital surveillance, which includes severe restrictions on movement, the forced collection of biometric data, and coercive police surveillance. Family members of Canadian citizens have also disappeared, and are incommunicado.

Canada has consistently raised its grave concern over the human rights situation in the XUAR with Chinese officials at the highest levels. The Chinese government denies any such human rights violations against Uyghur people and rejects any accountability for wrongdoing, instead seeking to discredit, as well as intimidate victims and those who choose to speak out. One entity and four individuals are sanctioned under SEMA for their roles in the mass arbitrary detention, torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, mass surveillance and forced labour of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in the XUAR, which amount to participation in gross and systematic human rights violations in the region.

Selected documents

Regulations

Regulations and Orders made under the Special Economic Measures Act:

Announcements

Announcements related to the Regulations made under the Special Economic Measures Act:

Related links

Legal advice

Please be advised that Global Affairs Canada cannot provide legal advice to members of the public. For this reason, we cannot deliver an opinion as to whether or not a specific activity or transaction would contravene sanctions legislation. You should consider seeking legal advice in relation to an activity that may contravene a Canadian sanction law.

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