Return to the Library

Logical Analysis of U.S. Financial Sanctions and China’s Contingency Plans


A researcher affiliated with the People’s Bank of China examines the nature and effects of a perceived growing U.S. tendency to deploy financial sanctions toward geopolitical objectives. The article outlines an extensive set of recommendations Beijing can take to better prepare for and protect against various sanctions scenarios, including deepening China’s global economic integration, improving diplomatic and trade ties with U.S. allies and partners, and promoting reform of the international monetary order.

FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrintCopy Link
Original text
English text
See an error? Drop us a line at
View the translated and original text side-by-side

In recent years, financial sanctions have become the preferred tool for the United States to achieve its geopolitical goals and safeguard its global strategic interests. The zero-sum fluctuations in the relative comprehensive national strength of China and the United States have triggered a great power game between the hegemonic power (the U.S.) and the rising power (China). There is a bipartisan consensus in the U.S. that the country should apply the “law of the jungle” and “the logic of the strong” in maintaining its super hegemony and containing China. The United States takes escalating steps following the pattern “trade frictions → technological blockade → financial sanctions.” During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the U.S. and European financial sanctions against Russia have provided a window for observation and a sample case. In the context of the intensified Sino-U.S. strategic game and the Taiwan Strait conflict, we should be wary of the U.S. replicating this financial sanction model against China. At present, it is necessary to strengthen systematic thinking, avoid fragmented perspectives, sort out and summarize the historical origins and underlying logic of U.S. financial sanctions, formulate logical response plans according to different situations, do a good job in stress testing and war games, reserve policy strategies and technical tools, and prepare for a rainy day to ensure China’s financial security and economic stability vis-à-vis the external world. This has become an urgent and tangible topic for both policymakers and academic research circles, as well as an inevitable requirement for the modernization of national economic governance.


I. Basic Framework of U.S. Financial Sanctions


Throughout the financial history of the United States, we can identify specific periods in the evolution of U.S. financial sanctions: an embryonic period (1950-1980), a developmental period (1990-2000), and a mature period (“9/11” to the present). This process has formed a sanctions system with Congress and the president as the decision-making entities, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Treasury as the core executive department, and the global banking infrastructure as the basis. U.S. financial sanctions have gradually evolved from a rational system for achieving compliant operations and maintaining financial security into a hegemonic system of financial warfare and financial plunder.


(i) Pillars of Support


The unequal power enjoyed by U.S. financial sanctions, due to U.S. financial hegemony, is based on two independent pillars of support: the U.S. dollar’s position at the center of the global monetary system and U.S. control over the global payment and clearing system.


1. The U.S. dollar enjoys a central position in the global monetary system: “The world has suffered from the dollar for a long time” (天下苦美元久矣).
1. 美元享有全球货币体系的中心地位:“天下苦美元久矣”

Unlike traditional colonial rule and plunder by war, the U.S. dollar, as a “sovereign currency,” plays the role of an “international currency.” Through the inherent flaws of a unipolar international currency system based on the dollar, the United States has built a more covert system of exploitation on a global scale.


(1) Historical origins: The U.S. dollar establishes its status as an international currency

(1) 历史溯源:美元奠定国际货币地位

The United States successfully captured the opportunity given by global changes (the two world wars) to achieve its original accumulation of wealth, and became the political and economic hegemon. The “White Plan” adopted at Bretton Woods in 1944 established the “double-pegged” dollar issuance mechanism. Now draped in the yellow robe of an emperor (黄袍加身), the dollar secured its status as the world’s reserve currency. From the 1940s to the 1960s, the United States successively implemented the “Marshall Plan” and “Dodge Plan,” which aimed to alleviate the lack of funds for post-war reconstruction in Europe and Japan and promoted the embedding of the U.S. dollar into security alliances, forming the Eurodollar market. However, U.S. military expenditures on the Korean War in the 1950s and the Vietnam War in the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” welfare plan in 1964, plus the competitiveness of Western Europe and Japan in the 1960s, led to balance of payments deficits. The United States responded by printing more U.S. dollars. Due to oversupply, the U.S. dollar was unable to maintain its fixed exchange rate with gold, which led Richard Nixon to announce the cessation of the “dual peg” in 1971 and the “Jamaica Accords” in 1976 to abolish the core status of gold in international reserves. In 1973, the United States forced the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to peg oil transactions to the U.S. dollar, forming the “Petro-dollar.”

美国成功捕捉全球变革机遇(两次世界大战), 实现财富原始积累,成为政治经济霸主,1944年采纳“怀特计划”的布雷顿森林体系确立“双挂钩” 美元发行机制,“黄袍加身”美元锁定全球储备货币地位。20世纪40-60年代,美国相继实施“马歇尔计划”“道奇计划”,旨在缓解欧洲、日本战后重建资金匮乏,推动美元嵌入安全同盟并形成欧洲美元市场。然而,1950年代朝鲜战争和1960年代越南战争的军费开支、1964年约翰逊“伟大社会”的福利计划叠加1960年代西欧及日本商品竞争力导致的国际收支逆差,美国采取增印美钞加以应对,美元超发无法维系与黄金的固定汇率,导致1971年尼克松宣布停止“双挂钩”、1976年“牙买加协议”废除黄金在国际储备核心地位。1973年美国迫使欧佩克(OPEC)的石油交易挂钩美元,形成“石油美元”(Petro-dollar)。

(2) Evolution: The dollar enjoys the “privileges of arrogance”

(2) 演变走势:美元拥有“嚣张特权”

After the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1973, the issuance of U.S. dollars was decoupled from gold (hard constraints), so a gold-backed asset [纸黄金] (stabilizing the international monetary system) became a sort of “consumer credit” [白条] (diluted U.S. dollar debt), and the United States became the top predator of the global economic chain. First, the Federal Reserve assumed the role of a “global bank.” The direction and scale of global capital flows are driven by the spillover effects of monetary policy (increasing and reducing interest rates and expanding and shrinking the Federal Reserve balance sheet), such that “benefits are exclusive to the United States, and risks are shared globally” (examples include the Latin American debt crisis and the Asian financial crisis). Second, the United States uses various means to enjoy discounts from other countries [薅羊毛]. For a long time, the Federal Reserve’s excessive issuance of U.S. dollars has not caused inflation in the United States (the inflation rate constantly hovered at about 2%). The traditional quantity theory of money cannot explain this phenomenon, which has confused academic circles. The essence is to loot global wealth through currency revaluation in order to share the cost of hegemony, export inflation, and shift the impact of the debt crisis. The United States has created a currency cycle in which the current account deficit (high-quality and low-cost imported goods) and the capital account surplus (high-yield foreign investment) export dollars and then bring the dollars back with treasury bond financing (at a low cost). However, emerging market countries are faced with the review mechanism of the “FIRRMA Act,” so it is difficult for them to use trade surplus dollars to invest in and acquire U.S. companies. Instead, they are forced to buy low-yield U.S. treasury bonds. Creditor countries around the world have fallen into the “U.S. debt trap” [美债陷阱] and face the dual dilemma of dilution and contraction of dollar reserve assets and the risk of freezing and confiscation at any time.

1973年布雷顿森林体系崩溃后,美元发行脱钩黄金(硬约束),“纸黄金”(稳定国际货币体系)变成 “白条”(稀释美元债务),美国成为全球经济链顶级掠食者。一是美联储扮演“全球银行”角色。通过货币政策(加减息和扩缩表)的外溢效应,驱动全球资本流动方向和规模,“利益美国独享、风险全球共担”(例如拉美债务危机、亚洲金融危机等)。二是向全球“薅羊毛”。长期以来,美联储超发美元并未引发美国通货膨胀(通胀率常年徘徊2%),传统货币数量论无法解释、颇令学术界困惑,实质是通过币值重估洗劫全球财富,达到分摊霸权成本、输出通胀、转嫁债务危机的目的;美国构成经常项目逆差(质优价廉的进口商品)和资本项目顺差(高收益的对外投资)输出美元、以国债融资(低成本)回流美元的货币循环。然而,新兴市场国家面临“FIRRMA法案”审查机制,贸易盈余美元难以投资并购美国企业、被迫购买低收益率的美国国债,全球债权国陷入“美债陷阱”,面临美元储备资产稀释缩水、随时冻结没收的双重困境。

2. The United States is in control of the global payment and settlement system: “Private use of public equipment”
2. 美国处于全球支付清算体系的控制地位: “公器私用”

The United States controls capital clearing systems such as the global Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), the Federal Reserve’s system for large payments (Fedwire) (domestic dollar settlement), and the private New York Clearing House Interbank Payment System (CHIPS) (cross-border dollar payments), which gives it a technical platform for the implementation of precise financial sanctions. Among these systems, SWIFT is considered “the nerve center of the global banking industry” and can be said to be a “secret weapon” for payments and settlement. Both CHIPS and Fedwire must rely on SWIFT messages to complete cross-border payment and settlement.


(1) Original intention of SWIFT: The public infrastructure of the global banking industry

(1) SWIFT设立初衷:全球银行业公共基础设施

Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Brussels, SWIFT is led by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) and supervised by the central banks of the Group of Ten (G10). The allocation of SWIFT board members is based on the use of the SWIFT message services by various countries, so board members are mainly from developed countries in Europe and North America. SWIFT is a global and open telecommunications channel for cross-border payment messages. It is a neutral organization for non-profit cooperation among international banks. It adopts a unified identity code and message language system, and has established exchange centers in Amsterdam, New York, and Hong Kong, China. SWIFT is equivalent to a multilateral convention whose effectiveness is based on international law. The contracting parties cannot directly intervene. SWIFT maintains political neutrality and professional qualities. Its purpose is to “safely and accurately complete the communication, transmission, and routing of private, confidential, and proprietary financial messages.” Most banks around the world rely on the SWIFT message transmission system to complete cross-border transactions. The operations of all major global payment systems rely on SWIFT message transmission for local currency or multilateral currency settlement, including the pan-European automatic real-time gross settlement rapid remittance system (TARGET2), London Clearing House Automated Payments System (CHAPS), and China National Advanced Payment System (CNAPS).

SWIFT成立于1973年、总部位于布鲁塞尔,由比利时国家银行(NBB )主导、十国集团(G10)央行监督,SWIFT董事会成员席位分配依据各国对SWIFT报文服务,主要来自欧美发达国家。SWIFT是全球公享的跨境支付报文电讯通道,属于国际银行间非营利合作的中立组织,采用统一的身份标识代码、电文语言体系,在荷兰阿姆斯特丹、美国纽约和中国香港设立交换中心。SWIFT相当于多边公约,基于国际法效力、缔约国无法直接干预。SWIFT保持政治中立与专业属性,宗旨是“安全准确地完成对私有的、保密的、专利的金融报文的通讯、传输以及路由等”。全球绝大多数银行依赖SWIFT报文传输系统完成跨境交易,全球主要支付系统运行均依赖SWIFT报文传送、实现本币或多边货币清算,如泛欧自动实时全额结算快速汇划系统(TARGET2)、伦敦银行自动清算支付系统(CHAPS)、中国现代化支付系统(CNAPS)等。

(2) SWIFT loses neutrality: It is reduced to part of the “Long Arm Jurisdiction” of the U.S. Government

(2) SWIFT丧失中立:沦为美国政府“长臂管辖”

SWIFT and CHIPS are used for information transmission and payment clearing for almost all U.S. dollar transactions. After 9/11, the United States launched the “Terrorist Financing Tracking Project” (TFTP) and authorized the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of the Treasury to track financial transactions and capital transactions “related to terrorist activities.” This forced SWIFT to open up all payment message information so as to monitor and trace most of the cross-border payment message information and capital transaction trends on a global scale. CHIPS is known as the “global U.S. dollar fund transfer system,” which undertakes settlement for over 90% of global U.S. dollar cross-border payments. Technical path of financial sanctions: After sanctioned targets are screened through SWIFT, the “SWIFT code” of a country or institution (国家个人及机构代) allows for precise positioning, just like GPS. Through the CHIPS and Fedwire U.S. dollar payment and clearing systems, the U.S. can cut off transactions involving U.S. dollars and freeze U.S. dollar assets. The U.S. can use its control of SWIFT to strip target countries of their membership qualifications.

SWIFT和CHIPS几乎覆盖美元交易过程的信息传递和支付清算。“9·11”事件之后,美国启动“恐怖分子融资跟踪项目(TFTP)”,授权财政部外国资产控制办公室(OFAC)追踪“与恐怖活动有关”金融交易及资金往来,迫使SWIFT开放所有支付报文信 息,藉此监控、追溯全球绝大部分跨境支付报文信息、资金交易动向。CHIPS 被称为“全球美元资金调拨系统”,承担全球90%以上美元跨境支付清算。金融制裁技术路径:通过SWIFT筛选出被制裁对象后,根据国家个人及机构代码“SWITFCODE”,犹如GPS精准定位;通过CHIPS、Fedwire美元支付清算系统切断涉及美元交易、冻结美元资产;利用SWIFT 控制权,剔除目标国会员资格。

(ii) Legal System


By untangling the legal framework of U.S. financial sanctions, we gradually construct a sophisticated legal system based on international law (mainly the Charter of the United Nations) and supported by domestic laws (statutes of Congress, executive orders of the president, regulations of federal government departments, and state government laws and regulation).


1. Basis in international law: Selective use
1. 国际法理依据:选择性使用

If it works, use it: The Charter of the United Nations is the legal basis. Articles 25 and 41 of the Charter of the United Nations promulgated in 1946 endow the UN Security Council with the power to impose financial sanctions on specific sovereign states (or entities). After the end of the Cold War, the United States, as the only “superpower,” was the main proponent of UN sanctions and promoted the adoption of the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Model Law (反洗钱和反恐怖主义融资示范法), Convention against Corruption, Drug Control Conventions, and Security Council Sanctions Resolutions. These sanctions mainly involved the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, genocide, human rights abuses, drug trade, terrorism, and money laundering. Obviously, the U.S. “twisted the arm of the UN to issue orders to the world” (挟联合国以令全球) and directly cited the United Nations Charter as the basis of international law, so that UN Security Council resolutions and international conventions have become the symbols that give authority [令箭, oversized arrows traditionally held by Chinese military commanders to demonstrate their authority] to U.S. financial sanctions (Zheng Liansheng, 2020).


If it is inconvenient, ignore it: Action is only taken when it is in the interests of the United States. The U.S. legislature usually considers their national interests, so the transformation of international law into domestic law is selective: When UN Security Council resolutions and international treaties are beneficial to the United States, they are used to drive domestic legislation, and international law is used to cloak the extraterritorial application of domestic law. However, when security council resolutions and international laws are not to the advantage of the United States, it will selectively ignore and violate them, adopting the principle of “later laws take priority” [后法优先] and use domestic laws to replace UN resolutions and international treaties. Some sanctions even violate the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions. For example, Trump signed Executive Order E13846 in 2018, unilaterally withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s Nuclear Program. U.S. unilateral financial sanctions treat members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) differently, violating Article 16 Market Access and Article 17 National Treatment of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) (Liu Ying, 2020). The “Hybridism of Territorial and Personal Jurisdiction” [属地和属人管辖的混合主义] of the United States conflicts with the “principle of territorial jurisdiction” of international law. The basis for claiming extraterritorial jurisdiction used by the United States is conduct that has or intends a substantial impact on the territory of the United States, while the generally recognized principles of jurisdiction in international law only grant jurisdiction over conduct that has occurred and endangers the interests of the country or its nationals. Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) are selected in a very unilateral manner and are not limited by the list drawn up by the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee.

不合弃之:符合美国利益是实施准绳。美国立法机构通常权衡利益,国际法转换国内法具有选择性:当联合国安理会决议、国际条约对美国有利,驱动国内立法,借助国际法的合法外衣实现国内法的域外适用;当联合国安理会决议、国际条约对美国不利,选择性忽视、违背,采取“后法优先”,国内法替代联合国决议、国际条约。部分制裁违背《联合国宪章》和联合国安理会决议,例如2018年特朗普签署E13846号行政令,单方面退出《关于伊朗核计划的全面协议》;美国单边金融制裁措施区别对待世界贸易组织(WTO)成员,违背《服务贸易总协定》 (GATS)第16条金融市场准入和第17条国民待遇承诺 (刘瑛,2020);美国“属地和属人管辖的混合主义”管辖权与国际法“属地管辖原则”冲突;主张域外管辖权依据是已经或意图对美国境内产生实质性影响的行为,而国际法公认管辖权原则均只对已经发生危害本国或国民利益的行为管辖;SDNs具有强烈单边主义色彩,不受联合国安理会反恐委员会拟定名单限制,等等。

2.  Support from Federal Law (C.F.R.): Substantive Use
2. 联邦法律(C.F.R.)配套:实质性使用

U.S. federal laws involving financial sanctions include basic legislation, authorizing legislation, and special legislation, which set up corresponding policy frameworks, trigger conditions, sanction measures, and [rules for] subsequent disposal.


(1) Basic legislation

(1) 基础性法律

The National Emergencies Act promulgated in 1976 and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act promulgated in 1977 are “superior laws” (上位法). According to the authorization and definition of the National Emergencies Act, when national security, economic interests, foreign policy, and other national interests face “extraordinary threats,” the president is given the power to impose financial sanctions after declaring a national emergency. The International Emergency Economic Powers Act grants the president the following powers: 1) to apply prohibition clauses, ordering the suspension of financial transactions such as fund transfers and currency transfers between domestic financial institutions and sanctioned entities;  2) to apply freeze clauses, ordering the freezing of the financial assets of foreign companies (or individuals) in the United States.


(2) Authorizing legislation

(2) 授权性法律

The Trading with the Enemy Act promulgated in 1917, the Patriot Act promulgated in 2001, and the National Defense Authorization Act promulgated at the end of each year are the best representatives of this type of legislation. After the 9/11 incident, the Patriot Act empowered the president to freeze or confiscate relevant financial assets and restrict financial activities without declaring a state of emergency so long as a terrorist attack was considered imminent or had already occurred. The National Defense Authorization Act provides reference standards and bases for the next fiscal year and is an important supplementary component that allows the implementation of financial sanctions.


(3) Special legislation

(3) 专项性法律

Different sanction entities or targets are subject to legislation at three levels: designated laws, presidential executive orders, and special regulations of the Treasury Department. The first is statutory laws enacted by Congress. Examples include the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act, Helms–Burton Act, D’Amato Act, and Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. The second is the executive orders issued by the president. Examples include Executive Order 13608 of 2012 (Syria), Executive Order 13662 of 2014 (Russia), Executive Order 13810 of 2017 (North Korea), and Executive Order 13850 of 2018 (Venezuela). The third is special regulations of the Treasury Department. For example, to refine the implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 and Executive Order No. 13622, OFAC formulated the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations.

针对不同制裁对象或目标,包括指定型法律、总统行政令、财政部专门条例等三个层次。一是国会颁布成文法。例如,《全面制裁伊朗、问责和撤资法》、《减除伊朗核威胁和保障叙利亚人权法》、《赫尔姆斯-伯顿法》、《达马托法》、《通过制裁打击美国对手法案》等。二是总统签发行政令。例如, 2012年13608号行政令(叙利亚)、2014年13662号行政令(俄罗斯)、2017年13810号行政令(朝鲜)、2018 年13850号行政令(委内瑞拉),等。三是财政部专门条例。为细化执行《2012财年国防授权法》及第13622号行政令,OFAC制定《伊朗金融制裁条例》,等。

(iii) Operating Mechanisms


1. Decision-making entities: The president and Congress
1. 决策主体:总统与国会

The original intention of the “three powers” system in the United States was to put in place a system of checks and balances between the Congress-legislative system and the president-executive system. Congressional legislation affects the discretion of the president, and the president’s use of the veto power restricts congressional legislation. However, the practice of U.S. financial sanctions shows that the U.S. president still has the power to act without constraint: First, U.S. financial sanction law gives the president discretion. As a convention decision-maker, the U.S. president directly signs “executive orders” in response to actual situations or specific events, and can also specifically exempt specific entities or individuals. Second, the U.S. president has the right to sign bills. The president can take the lead in imposing financial sanctions through the executive branch, or refuse to sign bills in order to persuade or even force Congress to make required changes.


2. Executing agencies: OFAC possesses core functions
2. 执行机构:OFAC具备核心功能

The State Department’s Division for Counter Threat Finance and Sanctions (TFS) and the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) are responsible for developing, modifying, or ending financial sanctions policies. The TFS includes the “Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation” (SPI) and the “Office of Threat Finance Countermeasures” (TFC), which mainly play policy management roles. The TFI includes the “Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes” (TFFC), “Office of Intelligence and Analysis” (OIA), “Office of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network” (FinCEN), and “Office of Foreign Assets Control” (OFAC). Among these, the TFFC, OIA, and FinCEN are responsible for policy guidance, intelligence collection and sharing, and cross-department and global cooperation, while OFAC directly undertakes core functions such as freezing assets and supervision. It is authorized to: 1) Draw up the “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List” (SDNs), which is dynamically updated weekly, based on newly acquired intelligence and evidence, and published in the Federal Register system (Xu Yisheng and Ma Xin, 2015); 2) Review and unfreeze license applications. Generally, licenses or exemptions are usually pre-stated in sanctions decrees, providing approval procedures to allow unfreezing of assets or trade with specific entities if they meet the conditions; 3) Take responsibility for overseeing the enforcement of sanctions. Financial institutions have a strong incentive to comply with SDNs; otherwise, they will be subject to OFAC warnings, civil penalties, and even criminal proceedings.

国务院反金融威胁和制裁办公室(TFS)与财政部“恐怖主义和金融情报办公室”(TFI)负责制定、修改或终止金融制裁政策。TFS包括“经济制裁政策和执行办公室”(SPI)、“金融威胁对策办公室”(TFC),主要扮演政策管理角色。TFI包括“恐怖融资和金融犯罪办公室”(TFFC)、“金融情报与分析办公室”(OIA)、“金融犯罪执法网络办公室”(FinCEN)、“外国资产控制办公室”(OFAC),其中, TFFC、OIA、FinCEN负责政策指导、情报搜集共享、跨部门和全球合作等,OFAC则直接承担资产冻结执行和监督等核心职能:被授权拟定“特别指令国民和禁阻人员清单”(SDNs),根据新获取的情报与证据每周动态更新并发布在联邦公报系统(徐以升和马鑫,2015);审查和解冻许可申请,一般许可或豁免通常在制裁法令中预先说明,遵循审批程序, 符合条件可解冻资产或与特定对象交易;负责监督制裁执行,金融机构具有强烈动机遵守SDNs,否则受到OFAC警告、民事处罚甚至刑事诉讼。

3. List sanctions: A “chilling effect”
3. 清单制裁:“寒蝉效应”

Based on bills or executive orders signed by the president, OFAC draws up and adjusts six types of lists. The first is the Special Directive Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDNs), which is the core sanction list, and entities related to the people on this list become targets of secondary sanctions. The second is the “Part 561 List, which was established by Part 561 of Chapter 31 of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations: Foreign financial institutions involved in the six prohibition provisions of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act are excluded from the U.S. dollar payment and settlement system. In 2019, this was included in the List of Foreign Financial Institutions Subject to Correspondent Account or Payable-Through Account Sanctions (CAPTA List), but the core terms remained unchanged. The third is the Sectoral Sanctions Identification List (SSI) (Russia). The fourth is the Foreign Sanctions Evaders List (Iran and Syria). The fifth is the Non-SDNs List related to Iran sanctions bills. The sixth is the Palestinian Legislative Council List. In normal situations, sanctions take the form of single-point sanctions against individuals or private banks and suppressive sanctions against systemically important financial institutions. Under specific circumstances, sanctions can take the form of destructive sanctions against central banks and asset freezes against specific countries (state of quasi-war) (Zheng Liansheng, 2020).


II. Prisoner’s Dilemma of U.S. Financial Sanctions


The frequent imposition (or threat) of financial sanctions by the United States has led to the regionalization of the global financial governance system. Countries that are actually or potentially the targets of sanctions are forced to take defensive measures: First, they will accelerate “de-dollarization,” gradually diluting the “hegemony of the dollar” and leading to an inflection point in the dollar’s “network inertia.” Second, it will lead to the “fragmentation” of the global payments system as countries seek alternatives to the U.S. dollar for cross-border payments so that the United States will eventually lose its control over the global payment and settlement system.


(i) Damage to the Reputation of the U.S. Dollar and the Credibility of the United States


Freezing and confiscating assets violates the contractual spirit of “keeping promises,” the market rules of “repaying debts,” and the sanctity of property rights (Yu Yongding, 2022), which damages the credibility of the United States and the reputation of the U.S. dollar as a currency. On February 11, 2022, Biden signed an executive order announcing the confiscation of U.S. $3.5 billion frozen assets of the Afghan central bank. As of March 25, 2022, Europe and the United States have frozen U.S. $300 billion of the Russian central bank’s foreign exchange reserves (deposited in Western central banks or custodian banks). Countries with geopolitical conflicts and ideological differences are forced to keep their distance from the U.S. dollar system. Once the number of sanctioned countries reaches a critical point, the credit foundation supported by the U.S. dollar will be shaken, and the status of the U.S. dollar as an international currency status will be weakened or even lost.

冻结没收资产违背“信守承诺”契约精神、“欠债还钱”市场规则及产权神圣不可侵犯(余永定, 2022),损害美国的国家信用、美元的货币信誉。2022年2月11日,拜登签署行政令,宣布没收冻结的 阿富汗央行35亿美元;截至2022年3月25日,欧美冻 结俄央行3000亿美元外汇储备(存放西方央行或托管银行)。迫使地缘政治冲突及意识形态差异的国家纷纷远离美元体系,当受制裁国家数量达到临界点,将动摇美元赖以支撑的信用基础,削弱乃至颠覆美元的国际货币地位。

First, there is the trend of “de-dollarization.” On the one hand, the natural choice is to look for a multi-currency allocation of foreign exchange reserves, or to replace currency with physical assets such as gold and commodities. Before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the proportion of the Russian central bank’s foreign exchange reserves in dollars dropped from 39.6% (2014) to 21.2% (2021). After the Russia-Ukraine conflict, developed countries (Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, etc.) and developing countries (India, Iran, Pakistan, etc.) have reduced their holdings of U.S. dollar foreign exchange reserves to varying degrees. According to IMF data, the proportion of U.S. dollar assets in global official foreign exchange reserves has dropped from 71% (1999) to 59% (2021). The decline in the U.S. dollar was mainly offset by increased holdings in “non-traditional” currencies other than the euro, Japanese yen, and British pound (such as the RMB, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, Swedish krona, South Korean won, and Singapore dollar). On the other hand, bulk commodities will be settled using non-dollar pricing. After the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Russia and Belarus abandoned the use of U.S. dollars in energy transactions, and Putin signed the “Ruble Settlement Order” and announced a ruble settlement mechanism for natural gas purchases by unfriendly countries. Linking currency and energy (resources) has a demonstrative effect on exporting countries such as those in the Middle East.

一是“去美元化”趋势。一方面,自然选择是寻求外汇储备多币化配置,或者替换成黄金、大宗商品等实物资产。俄乌冲突前,俄央行美元外汇储备占比从39.6%(2014年)降至21.2%(2021年);俄乌冲突后,发达国家(德国、瑞士、荷兰等)、发展中国家(印度、伊朗、巴基斯坦等)均不同程度减持美元外汇储备。IMF数据显示,美元资产在全球官方外汇储备占比从71%(1999年)下降为59%(2021年),美元下降份额主要由欧元、日元、英镑之外“非传统” 货币(人民币、加拿大元、澳大利亚元、瑞典克朗、韩元、新加坡元等)替代。另一方面,大宗商品采用非美元定价结算,俄乌冲突后,俄罗斯与白俄罗斯能源交易放弃使用美元,普京签署“卢布结算令”、宣布与不友好国家购买天然气的卢布结算机制,将货币与能源(资源)挂钩对中东等出口国产生示范效应。

Second, countries will reduce holdings of U.S. treasury bonds. The U.S. overdraft model of “the tiger eats the food the rabbit has stored up” (寅吃卯粮) has forced the “debtization” of its fiscal deficit as it relies on the issuance of a large number of treasury bonds to make up for the fiscal deficit. However, the potential threat of U.S. financial sanctions has weakened the safety of U.S. debt as a safe-haven asset, and more and more creditor countries are looking for strategic reserve assets other than U.S. debt. As of February 2021, Russia had basically liquidated its long-term U.S. treasury bonds, holding only $5.8 billion after selling as much as 94%. After 2020, the world’s major manufacturers and resource suppliers (China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Brazil) all reduced their holdings of U.S. treasury bonds to varying degrees. According to the Treasury International Capital (TIC) released by the U.S. Treasury Department (Note: U.S. debt data has a lag of two months), as of the end of September 2022, the two largest buyers of U.S. debt were decreasing their holdings: Mainland China has sold U.S. Treasury bonds for eight consecutive months, and its holdings of U.S. bonds had dropped to U.S. $933.6 billion. Japan’s holdings of U.S. bonds fell to $1,120.2 billion, its lowest position since 2020.


Third, there are diminishing marginal benefits from looting global wealth. In 2022, the Federal Reserve launched a new round of “rate hike process + balance sheet shrinkage expectations.” The pace of interest rate hikes in March, May, June, and September will be fast (steep), and the balance sheet will start to shrink by $95 billion per month in June, adding to the geopolitical crisis that created the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. However, most of the European safe-haven dollars did not return to the United States as the Federal Reserve wished, and the U.S. stock bubble was punctured after a radical interest rate hike rarely seen in the past 20 years. As of June 30, 2022, the Dow Jones Industrial Index dipped below 30,000 points and fell 15% in the first half of the year. The Nasdaq index gave up all its gains from 2021 and fell 29% in the first half of the year. The S&P 500 index fell 20% in the first half of the year.

三是洗劫全球财富边际效益递减。2022年美联储启动新一轮“加息进程+缩表预期”,3、5、6、 9月加息节奏紧密(幅度陡峭)、6月份开始每月缩表950亿美元资产,叠加制造俄乌冲突的地缘政治危机。然而欧洲避险美元大部分并没有如美联储所愿回流美国,开启20年来罕见激进加息后却刺破了美股泡沫。截至2022年6月30日,道琼斯工业指数失守30000点、上半年下跌15%,纳斯达克指数回吐2021 年全部涨幅、上半年下跌29%,标普500指数上半年累计下跌20%。

(ii) “Fragmentation” of the Global Payment System


In quick succession, the United States cut Iran off from the CHIPS USD cross-border payment system and SWIFT cross-border payment message transmission channel, announced that North Korean banks “no longer meet SWIFT membership standards” and removed their country code, and kicked seven Russian financial institutions out of the SWIFT messages system. Many countries have sought alternative (backup) solutions to decouple from the U.S.-controlled payment and clearing system: one is to re-develop a payment and receipt telecommunications transmission system. To maintain oil commodity trading with Iran, the European Union developed the “Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges” (INSTEX); Russia launched the Ruble Settlement and Payment System (MИP) and the System for Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS); the European Union launched the TARGET Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS); Russia is urging the BRICS countries to create a new payment system called “BRICSPay”; and Russia, China, and India developed an emergency electronic settlement method through gateway alignment of financial information transmission systems in case of a disconnection of the SWIFT network. A second solution is to sign currency swap agreements. India and Iran reached a rupee settlement agreement for oil transactions, and Russia and India explored the establishment of a “rupee-ruble” trade payment settlement mechanism. A third solution is to develop a national payment card system. The Russian Mir card system signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vietnamese payment system BanknetVN, and will expand to the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in the future. Mastercard and Visa must sign a new cooperation agreement with the Mir card payment system. A fourth solution is to require bilateral trade to be settled in the local currency, sign currency swap agreements, or even conduct barter trade. Obviously, this will weaken SWIFT’s dominant position in the global payment and clearing system and prevent SWIFT from achieving global coverage and maximizing its effectiveness. The U.S. dollar will also see its share of international payments and reserves decline, so that the global allocation of economic resources will no longer be efficient.

美国先后切断伊朗通过CHIPS美元跨境支付系统、SWIFT跨境支付报文传递通道,宣布朝鲜银 行“不再符合SWIFT成员准入标准”、剔除国家编码,将俄罗斯7家金融机构踢除SWIFT报文系统,等。多国纷纷寻求摆脱美国控制支付清算体系的替代(备份)方案:一是重新开发一套收付电讯传送系统。欧盟维持与伊朗之间石油商品贸易,开发“贸易辅助与支持工具”(INSTEX)的易货单据撮合系统;俄罗斯启动卢布结算支付系统(MИP) 和金融报文传送系统(SPFS);欧盟推出欧洲即时支付结算基础设施(TIPS);俄罗斯倡导金砖国家打造“金砖支付”(BRICSPay)的全新支付体系;俄罗斯、中国和印度开发SWIFT断网情况下金融信息传输系统通过网关对接的应急电子结算方式。二是签订货币互换协议。印度与伊朗就石油交易达成卢比结算协议,俄罗斯与印度探索建立“卢比-卢布”贸易支付结算机制。三是开发国家支付卡系统。俄罗斯Mir 卡系统与越南支付系统BanknetVN签署备忘录,未来扩展到欧亚经济联盟(EAEU)成员国,万事达卡(Mastercard)和维萨卡(Visa)必须与Mir卡支付系统签署新合作协议。四是迫使双边贸易采用本币结算、签订货币互换协议甚至易货贸易,等等。显然,削弱SWIFT在全球支付清算体系的主导地位,SWIFT无法覆盖全球范围、发挥最大效能,美元也让渡国际支付储备份额,导致全球经济资源配置效率满盘皆输。

(iii) A “Backlash Effect” Against the Country Initiating Sanctions


The United States uses economic and financial sanctions to achieve its strategic interests. However, the trade frictions provoked by the United States in 2018 have reduced the entry of Chinese goods into the U.S. market. The economic sanctions launched by Europe and the United States in 2022 will make it difficult for Russian energy to enter the European and U.S. markets. Negative effects have appeared: In July 2022, the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) rose by 9.1% year-on-year, the highest mark in nearly 40 years, and the U.S. economy showed signs of economic stagflation and falling into a “technical recession.” Europe and the United States banned Russia from international capital market financing channels, while Russia cut off the circulation of commodities with sanctioning countries, “weaponizing” its energy power in response to the “weaponization” of the dollar system. This caused Europe and Japan to suffer from an energy crisis. Energy prices in the eurozone rose by 38% in August, with the inflation rate in some eurozone countries exceeding 20%. Obviously, the joint sanctions imposed on energy exporting countries (Russia, Iran, Venezuela, etc.) and commodity manufacturing countries (China, etc.) will inevitably lead to a spiraling rise in the “wages-prices” in the United States, and inflationary expectations will particularly harm the welfare of ordinary consumers in Europe and the United States.

美国利用经济金融制裁实现战略利益,然而, 2018年来美国挑起的贸易摩擦使得中国商品减少进入美国市场,2022年欧美发动的经济制裁使得俄罗斯能源难以进入欧美市场。负面效应显现:2022年7 月美国消费者价格指数(CPI)同比上涨9.1%、刷新近 40年最高纪录,显示经济滞胀、陷入“技术性衰退” 迹象。欧美禁止俄罗斯的国际资本市场融资渠道, 俄罗斯则切断与制裁国的大宗商品流通,以能源权力“武器化”应对美元体系“武器化”,导致欧日深受能源危机困扰,8月份欧元区能源价格上涨38%, 部分欧元区国家的通货膨胀率超过20%。显然,能源出口国(俄罗斯、伊朗、委内瑞拉等)、商品制造国(中国等)遭受联合制裁,必将催生美国“工资-物价”螺旋式上升,通胀预期尤其吞噬欧美普通消费者福利。

(iv) Strong Countermeasures by Major Countries Make It Difficult to Achieve Expected Results


The effects of financial sanctions are completely different for different targets: sanctions where “the strong bully the weak” are easy to impose on small countries, and the economy of a small country will suffer heavy losses or even a collapse; but sanctions targeting major countries in the “game of great powers” will not be as effective, as they will be met with strong countermeasures, making it difficult to achieve the expected results. Typical cases of countermeasures: First, sanctions cause military risks. Financial sanctions have become fuel to break through the boundaries of economic constraints and war. After the outbreak of the Pacific War, the United States announced the freezing of Japan’s financial assets and trade surplus funds in the United States, prompting Japan to launch a desperate attack on Pearl Harbor. After the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Russia threatened to launch a nuclear war and take countermeasures such as taking back Alaska. Second, sanctions encounter legislative resistance. In 1996, the United States issued the Helms-Burton Act, and the European Union issued “Regulation No. 2271/96” Protecting against the effects of the extraterritorial application of legislation adopted by a third country, and actions based thereon or resulting therefrom (referred to as the Blocking Statute), prohibiting the “extraterritorial legal rights” of the United States from taking effect in the EU and forcing the two sides to negotiate and reach the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the U.S. ‘Helms-Burton Act’ and the U.S. ‘Iran and Libya Sanctions Act‘. In 1998, negotiations between the two sides resulted in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. In 2018, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Agreement, and the European Union authorized (EU) Regulation 2018/1100 to update the Blocking Statute, focusing on supplementing and improving the annex to prohibit compliance with the “long-arm jurisdiction” of the United States. In addition, Russia issued the Act on Countersanction Measures against Unfriendly Behaviors of the United States and Other Countries, Mexico promulgated the Trade and Investment Protection Law to deny the extraterritorial effect of U.S. laws, and Canada revised its Foreign Extraterritorial Measures Act to refuse to enforce U.S. third-party sanctions. Obviously, financial sanctions are not suitable tools for conflict resolution in the “game of great powers,” and have particularly little effect on centralized authoritarian regimes.

金融制裁对象不同、制裁效果截然不同:“以强凌弱”制裁小国得心应手,小国经济遭受重创乃至崩溃;“大国博弈”制裁大国则力不从心,遭受强劲反制、难以达到预期效果。典型反制案例:一是引发军事风险。金融制裁成为突破经济约束战争边界的助燃剂。太平洋战争爆发后,美国宣布冻结日本在美的金融资产、贸易盈余资金,日本则孤注一掷发动偷袭珍珠港事件;俄乌冲突后,俄罗斯威胁发动核战争和收回阿拉斯加等反制措施,等。二是遭遇立法抵制。1996年,美国出台《赫尔姆斯-伯顿法》,欧盟颁布“第2271/96号条例”《反对第三国立法域外适用的条例》(简称《阻断法令》),禁止美国 “域外法权”在欧盟生效,迫使双方谈判达成《欧盟与美国关于<赫尔姆斯—伯顿法>和<伊朗和利比亚制裁法>谅解备忘录》,1998年磋商达成《跨大西洋政治合作伙伴关系协定》;2018年,美国单方面退出《伊核协议》,欧盟授权(EU)2018/1100条例更新《阻断法令》,重点补充完善附件部分禁止遵守美国“长臂管辖”。另外,俄罗斯颁布《关于针对美国和其他国家不友好行为的反制裁措施法案》、墨西哥颁布《贸易投资保护法》否决美国法律的域外效力、加拿大修改《外国域外管辖措施法》拒绝执行美国第三方制裁,等。显然,金融制裁并不适用“大 国博弈”冲突解决,尤其中央集权专制政体收效甚微。

(v) Lack of Complete Unity Among Western Allies


The United States attempts to win over allies to cooperate in sanctions and form a united front. The Sanctions Policy Reform Act issued in 1999 stipulates that the president can initiate unilateral sanctions only when the president determines that it is not possible to jointly impose multilateral sanctions on the target country with third-party countries. However, the U.S. adopts “America first” and “only eternal interests, no eternal allies,” maintains the hegemony of the dollar, and locks out “competitors” to the dollar. Blocking the yen: The United States is a military ally of Japan. However, Japan was forced to issue “voluntary export restrictions” and sign the “Plaza Accord”. As a result, the Japanese yen has become a speculative currency rather than a real rival to the dollar, and the Japanese economy has fallen into “two lost decades.” Blocking the Euro: U.S. values call for “signaling its commitment” to Europe, but they don’t actually want a flourishing EU or a strong Euro. The United States launched the Iraq war in the Gulf region and constrained the euro settlement mechanism that allowed OPEC to export oil to the EU. They launched the Kosovo war in the heart of Europe, weakening the confidence of international capital in the euro. After the subprime mortgage crisis, global credit rating agencies (Moody’s, S&P) manipulated by the United States “carefully chose” the time at which they downgraded the sovereign debt of Greece and other countries (Liu Mingli, 2017), which became a catalyst for the European debt crisis. They took advantage of the geopolitical contradictions caused by the eastward expansion of NATO to provoke the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, to “kill two birds with one stone” by weakening Russia through proxy war and driving international safe-haven capital to withdraw from Europe and return to the United States. As of September 2022, the exchange rate of the euro to the dollar had depreciated by 20%, a significant drop. In addition, at the expense of the interests of its allies, OFAC of the United States successively issued huge fines to many European banks such as BNP Paribas, ABN Amro, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS on suspicion of violating secondary sanctions.

美国拉拢盟国合作制裁、意欲缔结统一战线, 1999年颁布的《制裁政策改革法案》规定“只有总统确定无法与第三国联合对目标国实施多边制裁才能启动单边制裁”。然而,奉行“美国优先”,“只有永恒的利益、没有永恒的朋友”,维护美元霸权地位、锁定美元“竞争者”。阻止日元:美国是日本的军事盟友,却迫使日本颁布“自愿出口限制”、签订城下之盟—“广场协议”,日元脱实向虚、沦为投机型货币,日本经济陷入“失落二十年”。阻止欧元:美国价值观“皈依”欧洲,却并不希望鼎盛的欧盟、坚挺的欧元。在海湾地区发动伊拉克战争、遏制欧佩克(OPEC)向欧盟出口石油的欧元结算机制;在欧洲心脏地带发动科索沃战争、削弱国际资本对欧元信心;次贷危机后,美国操纵的全球信用评级机构(穆 迪、标普)对希腊等国主权债务的降级时机“精心选 择”(刘明礼,2017),成为欧债危机催化剂;利用北约东扩挑起俄乌冲突的地缘政治矛盾,达到通过战争代理人削弱俄罗斯、驱使国际避险资本撤出欧洲回流美国的“一箭双雕”,截至2022年9月,欧元对美元汇率大幅贬值20%。另外,不惜牺牲盟友利益,美国OFAC认为涉嫌违反二级制裁令,先后向法国巴黎银行、荷兰银行、德意志银行、苏格兰皇家银行、瑞银集团等多家欧洲银行屡开巨额罚单。

III. Risk of U.S. Financial Sanctions to China


In recent years, the United States has accelerated the frequency of financial sanctions against China, involving violations of sanction resolutions against North Korea, Iran, and other countries, and many Chinese banks and companies have been designated SDNs by the U.S. OFAC. However, these are scattered sanctions, and the overall risk is under control. At present, China is mainly facing potential sanctions risks such as the freezing of U.S. dollar reserve assets (conventional weapon), elimination from global payment message telecommunication channels (intelligence system), being cut off from the cross-border U.S. dollar settlement system (drastic measure), and delisting Chinese stocks (financing channels). These risks require careful risk assessment.

近年来,美国针对中国金融制裁的频率加快, 涉及违反朝鲜、伊朗等制裁决议,多家中国银行和企业被美国OFAC纳入SDNs,但属于散点式制裁,总体风险处于可控状态。当前,中国主要面临冻结美元储备资产(常规武器)、剔除全球支付报文电讯通道(情报系统)、切断跨境美元清算体系(终极手段)、中概股退市(融资渠道)等潜在制裁风险,需要作出审慎的风险评估。

(i) Freezing or Confiscating U.S. Dollar Reserve Assets: Common Measures


Based on the authorization of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and Patriot Act, in recent years, U.S. presidents have signed the National Defense Authorization Acts with China-related provisions and have frozen the U.S. financial assets of military industrial enterprises such as China Shipbuilding Industry, Great Wall Industry, New Era Technology, and Huazhong CNC. Data released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange: As of the end of October 2022, China’s foreign exchange reserves were U.S. $3,052.4 billion (current account surplus and capital account deficit); data released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury: As of the end of September 2022, China still held U.S.$933.6 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds. Due to China’s trade surplus with the United States, the country has accumulated U.S. dollars. Because the United States makes it difficult to purchase high-tech U.S. products (high-end chips, core technologies, etc.), China is forced to buy U.S. treasury bonds (low yield) and faces devaluation (purchasing power loss) or even the threat of freezing and confiscation at any time. This has become a bargaining chip for the United States. On the other hand, the scale of U.S. sovereign debt in China is extremely small, so the net sovereign debt between China and the United States is not reciprocal. However, according to data released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, as of the end of June 2022, China’s international investment position showed a liability of U.S. $7.07 trillion, of which U.S. $3.58 trillion was held in direct investment and U.S. $3.47 trillion in stocks, bonds, and investment “portfolios.” The full-scale external debt situation table shows that the total external debt is U.S. $2.63 trillion. From the perspective of countermeasures, such as “force majeure” contract clauses, the Chinese government could freeze direct investment from the United States (especially investment funds and pension funds) and Chinese entities could refuse to repay debts from the United States, but this would also intensify the “decoupling” between China and the United States and reverse globalization.

根据《国际紧急经济权力法案》、《爱国者法案》授权,近年来,美国总统签署涉华条款《国防授权法案》,中国船舶重工、长城工业、新时代科技、华中数控等军工企业在美金融资产遭到冻结。国家外汇管理局公布数据:截至2022年10月末,中国外汇储备规模30524亿美元(经常项目顺差和资本项目逆差);美国财政部公布数据:截至2022年9月末,中国仍持有美国国债规模9336亿美元。中国对美贸易顺差积累美元,难以购买美国高科技产品(高端芯片、核心技术等),被迫购买美国国债(低收益率),并面临贬值(购买力损耗)甚至随时冻结没收,成为美方制衡筹码;而美在华的主权债规模极小,中美两国之间净主权债非对等性。但国家外汇管理局公布数据显示:截至2022年6月末,中国国际投资头寸表显示负债端7.07万亿美元,其中,持有3.58万亿美元直接投资和3.47万亿美元股票、债 券及投资“组合”;全口径外债情况表显示外债总额2.63万亿美元。如果从反制角度,诸如“不可抗力”合同条款,中国政府冻结来自美国的直接投资(尤其投资基金和养老基金),中国实体机构拒绝偿还来自美国的债务,但也将加剧中美“脱钩”和逆全球化。

(ii) Cutting Off from USD Payment and Clearing Channels: A Weapon of Last Resort


Once a financial institution is cut off from the CHIPS payment and clearing system and removed from the SWIFT message conversion channel, the sanction target’s ability to conduct cross-border transactions will be paralyzed and it will become a “financial island.” In recent years, FinCEN of the U.S. Treasury Department has successively shut down the USD correspondent bank accounts of Banco Delta Asia (in 2005, for providing services to North Korea-related sanctioned entities) as well as the Bank of Kunlun and Bank of Dandong (in 2015 and 2017, for involvement in transactions with Iranian commercial banks). At present, Chinese financial institutions still have to go through CHIPS for U.S. dollar settlement, and the CIPS system for RMB transactions still relies on SWIFT for cross-border payment messages. China’s payment system is faced with potential risks. The United States could prohibit China from using CHIPS-based U.S. dollar payment and clearing systems, prohibit messages related to transactions involving RMB and Hong Kong dollars from being sent via SWIFT, and pressure SWIFT to revoke the membership of Chinese financial institutions. Of course, as China is the world’s second-largest economy and the largest trading nation, such extreme sanctions by the United States would have the effect of a double-edged sword, exacerbating the fragmentation of the global payment system, and further weakening the foundation of the dollar’s hegemony.

一旦金融机构被CHIPS切断支付清算体系、 SWIFT剔出报文转换通道,被制裁对象跨境交易业务宣告瘫痪、成为“金融孤岛”。近年来,美财政部FinCEN先后关闭澳门汇业银行(2005年涉朝制裁主体提供服务)、昆仑银行和丹东银行(2013年、2017 年涉与伊朗商业银行交易)的美元代理行账户。目前,中国金融机构涉及美元清算仍须通过CHIPS,人民币CIPS依然无法脱离SWIFT跨境支付报文传送。中国支付体系面临潜在风险,禁止使用CHIPS为主的美元支付清算系统,阻止人民币和港元通过SWIFT进行报文传递,施压SWIFT 剔除中国金融机构会员资格。当然,中国作为全球第二大经济体、最大贸易国,美方采取此类极端制裁措施,也将产生双刃剑效应,加剧全球支付体系碎片化,进一步削弱美元霸权基础。

(iii) Including Chinese stocks in the “Pre-delisting” List: Closing Financing Channels


First, the United States includes Chinese high-tech companies in its “Entity List,” which targets emerging industries such as 5G and high-end chips, and preventively hinders “overtaking” in key areas. In 2018, the United States issued the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) to consolidate its cutting-edge technology monopoly and competitive advantages by foiling the investment of Chinese-funded institutions in the United States and blocking mergers and acquisitions. Second, Chinese stocks have become bargaining chips. The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act issued in 2020 stipulates that foreign companies publicly listed in the United States must instruct their accounting firms to allow the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to review audit reports for three consecutive years. Each year, the PCAOB provides the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with a list of overseas listed companies that fail to allow supervision of their audit reports due to reasons related to foreign governments. Failure to comply with these rules will result in Chinese stocks being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq Exchange (NASDAQ) in 2024. The SEC has accelerated the frequency of “pre-delisting” of Chinese stocks. In January 2021, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom were forced to delist and start exiting U.S. stock exchanges. In August 2022, Sinopec, PetroChina, China Life, Chalco, Shanghai Petrochemical, and other central enterprises announced that their depositary shares would be delisted from the NYSE. As of the end of May 2022, there were nearly 250 Chinese stocks listed in the United States, with a total market value of approximately U.S. $2.1 trillion. As of the end of August 2022, the SEC has announced the inclusion of six batches with a total of 162 Chinese stocks in the “pre-delisting” list for “audit reasons.” The United States seeks to obtain complete audit documents and China avoids [the disclosure of] secrets to ensure development security. China seeks solutions that meet mutual concerns. In April 2022, opinions were sought to prevent sensitive information such as state secrets, fundamental enterprise data [企业底层数据], and private personal information from entering audit work reports. In August 2022, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Finance, and the U.S. PCAOB signed an audit supervision cooperation agreement (a U.S. delegation went to China to review the audit reports of Chinese stocks in September) and made reciprocal arrangements to prevent the passive delisting of Chinese stocks from U.S. exchanges and the listing of international companies in China.

一是将中国高科技企业纳入“实体清单”,精准性打击5G、高端芯片等新兴产业,预防性阻碍“弯道超车”的关键领域。2018年美国颁布《外国投资风险审查现代化法案》(FIRRMA),巩固对华的尖端技术垄断与竞争性优势,中资机构赴美投资折戟而归、并购受阻。二是中概股成为谈判筹码。2020年颁布的《外国公司问责法案》规定外国上市公司聘请会计师事务所应连续三年允许美国上市公司会计监督委员会(PCAOB)审査审计底稿,PCAOB每年向美国证券交易委员会(SEC)提供一次因外国政府原因未能对审计报告监管的海外上市公司名单, 否则中概股2024年从纽约证交所和纳斯达克交易所予以强制摘牌退市。SEC加快中概股“预摘牌”频次,2021年1月中国移动、电信、联通等被强制摘牌启动在美退市程序,2022年8月中石化、中石油、中国人寿、中国铝业、上海石化等央企公告将存托股份从纽交所退市。截至2022年5月末,在美上市的中概股近250家、总市值约2.1万亿美元。截至2022年8月底,SEC共宣布六批162家中概股以“审计原因”列入“预摘牌”名单。美国寻求获得完整审计文本、中国避免涉密保证发展安全,中方寻求符合彼此关切的解决方案,2022年4月征求意见避免国家秘密、企业底层数据、个人隐私等敏感信息进入审计工作底稿。2022年8月中国证监会、财政部与美国PCAOB签署审计监管合作协议(9月份美赴华审阅中概股审计底稿),为避免中概股自美被动退市、国际企业来华上市作了互惠安排。

(iv) Obstructing the Process of RMB Internationalization: Maintaining the Hegemony of the U.S. Dollar


First, induce and provoke geopolitical conflicts. When the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis forced the “10 (ASEAN) + 3 (China, Japan, and South Korea)” countries to launch a regional currency swap network (de-dollarization) under the framework of the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), the United States adopted the “return to the Asia-Pacific strategy,” deliberately intensified the conflict on the Korean Peninsula, and provoked geopolitical conflicts such as the “Diaoyu Islands” dispute. It used security as bait to successfully derail negotiations on Sino-Japanese currency cooperation and a China-Japan-Korea free trade area and bring the East Asian Monetary Union (with RMB at its core) to a standstill. At present, we should be wary of the United States attempting to copy the Russia-Ukraine war by provoking conflicts in the Taiwan region and the Korean Peninsula to drive safe-haven capital from China and East Asia to the United States. Second, weaken Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center. In July 2020, Trump signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act and Presidential Executive Order No. 13936, which ended the special and preferential treatment of Hong Kong. In January 2021, OFAC issued the Hong Kong-related Sanctions Regulations and froze the U.S. assets of entities (individuals) listed as SDNs. If the U.S. Policy Act is further amended to abolish the free convertibility between Hong Kong dollars and U.S. dollars or even remove Hong Kong banks from the SWIFT system, this will affect Hong Kong’s linked exchange rate system and abolish Hong Kong’s function as a global offshore RMB business hub.

一是诱导挑起地缘冲突。东南亚金融危机倒逼“10(东盟)+3(中日韩)”,启动《清迈倡议》(CMIM)框架的区域货币互换网络(去美元化),美国则“重返亚太战略”,蓄意激化朝鲜半岛矛盾、挑起“钓鱼岛”争端等地缘冲突,利用安全诱饵成功瓦解中日货币合作、中日韩自贸区谈判,东亚货币联盟(人民币核心) 陷入停滞。当前,警惕美国复制俄乌战争, 在台湾地区、朝鲜半岛挑起冲突,驱赶中国和东亚的避险资本流向美国。二是削弱香港国际金融中心地位。2020年7月,特朗普签署《香港自治法案》和13936号总统行政令,香港不再享有特殊及优惠待遇;2021年1月OFAC颁布《香港相关制裁条例》对列入SDNs的相关主体(个人)涉美财产予以冻结。如果进一步修改《美国政策法》,取消港元与美元自由兑换乃至香港银行被SWIFT系统剔除,将影响香港 联系汇率制度,废掉香港全球离岸人民币业务枢纽功能。

IV. Chinese Contingency Plans for U.S. Financial Sanctions


Maintaining its hegemony is deeply ingrained in the marrow of the United States. Anyone who has achieved “second best” status (“60% law”), regardless of whether it is a hostile country (the Soviet Union, a military power) or a close ally (Japan, an economic power), will be suppressed and sanctioned without exception. This forced the Soviet Union’s disintegration and Japan’s two lost decades. China cannot prevent the coercion of U.S. financial sanctions unless it gives up its ability to rise peacefully. By clearly identifying potential U.S. financial sanctions tactics and sandboxing different scenarios, we can adopt a logical defense strategy. We must not only maintain strategic concessions and avoid simple conditioned reflexes, but also adhere to bottom-line thinking and hold “worst scenario” stop-loss plans in reserve.


(i) Micro Entity Level


1. Enterprises with foreign operations
1. 涉外企业

(1) Actively avoid walking in gray zones

(1) 主动避免游走灰色地带

First, we must comprehensively investigate international business operations and strengthen project due diligence, pay attention to OFAC’s “50% share rule,” clarify the degree of association of suspicious transactions, and do a good job in predicting and preventing compliance risks in overseas transactions. Second, we must closely follow OFAC’s dynamic adjustments of the SDNs list, avoid trading with entities listed on the SDNs list or falling into the trap of third-party sanctions, and apply to the U.S. OFAC for advance permission for special transactions.

一是全面排查国际业务、强化项目尽职调查, 注意OFAC“50%股份规则”、明晰可疑交易关联程度,做好境外交易合规风险预判和防范。二是密切跟踪OFAC动态调整SDNs名单,规避与被列入SDNs 名单贸易往来、落入第三方制裁陷阱,特殊交易预先向美国OFAC申请获得许可。

(2) Passively seek U.S. judicial remedies

(2) 被动寻求美国司法救济

The Patriot Act only allows sanctioned entities to provide information for clarification. They cannot submit administrative appeals or apply for administrative reconsideration. However, the U.S. Constitution stipulates that legitimate property rights are inviolable, and the arbitrary freezing and confiscation of assets violate terms that prohibit the abridgment of civil rights. According to the “separation of powers” system in the United States, courts are allowed to review the constitutionality of government actions. The mainstream view in legal circles also places limits on secondary sanctions and extraterritorial jurisdiction (Liu Ying, 2020). We can seek judicial remedies to defend legitimate rights and interests. At the same time, the unilateral sanctions of the United States violate the substantive obligations (commitments) of the WTO treaties and the Draft Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts, so we can entrust national authorities to bring cases before international dispute settlement institutions such as the WTO and the United Nations International Court of Justice.

《爱国者法案》仅允许被制裁对象以提供信息方式澄清,无法申请行政申诉及行政复议。而美国《宪法》规定合法财产权利不受侵犯,随意冻结没收资产违背禁止剥夺公民权利条款。根据美国“三权分立”制度,允许法院对政府行为提请违宪审查, 法学界主流观点也限制次级制裁、域外管辖(刘瑛, 2020 ),可以寻求司法救济渠道捍卫合法权益。同时,美国单边制裁违背WTO条约实体义务(承诺) 和《国家对国际不法行为的责任条款草案》,可以委托国家部门诉诸WTO、联合国国际法院等国际争端解决机构。

2. Financial institutions
2. 金融机构

(1) Improve customer identification and due diligence processes

(1) 完善客户身份识别与尽职调查流程

U.S. secondary sanctions laws are the basis of Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance by financial institutions. We must establish a sanctions list screening management system by verifying materials, data information, and supporting documents, accurately determine whether sanctioned countries or SDNs are involved, and beware of secondary sanctions imposed by OFAC, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


(2) Improve blacklist monitoring and handling mechanisms

(2) 健全黑名单监控及处置机制

We must improve the suspicious transaction monitoring and reporting system, strengthen the identification and assessment of sanction compliance risks, and carefully screen cross-border business transactions to see if there is a risk of punishment by the OFAC (retrospective punishment for existing transactions, compliance risks of new transactions) (Chen Yutong and Cheng Yiwei, 2017). Once SDNs (secondary sanctions) are found to be involved, we should promptly adopt remedial measures to provide OFAC with information proving innocence and to obtain discretion as far as possible.


(3) Make emergency backup plans

(3) 做好应急性备份方案

Once the U.S. OFAC secondary sanctions list is involved, the use of global payment and settlement systems will eventually be restricted or prohibited, and we must be able to adopt a less efficient but feasible backup plan. Plan 1: Open offshore USD accounts in banking institutions in countries (regions) that have not been sanctioned in order to again use the CHIPS cross-border USD payment system. Option 2: Use traditional online banking or a written payment letter (signed by the obligee) to send payment instructions to the account-holding bank, or create a new payment instruction message system through the Internet, thereby replacing the SWIFT cross-border payment message transmission channel.

一旦涉及美国OFAC的二级制裁清单,最终被 限制或禁止使用全球支付清算体系,采取效率低但不失为可行的备份方案。方案一,在未遭受制裁的国家(地区)银行机构开立离岸美元账户,重新使用CHIPS美元跨境支付系统;方案二,采用传统网银或手工付款书(权利人签字)向账户行发送付款指令, 或通过互联网新建支付指令报文体系,从而替代SWIFT跨境支付报文传递通道。

(ii) National Strategy Level


1.  Best Strategy: Global cooperation and mutual benefit becomes the preferred strategy
1. 上策:全球合作共赢成为优选策略

(1) Build a “Community with a Shared Future for Mankind”

(1) 构建“人类命运共同体”

Following their differences in factor endowments and giving full play to their comparative advantages, China and the U.S. achieve Pareto improvements in the allocation of economic resources between the two countries, creating economic prosperity for “Chimerica” all at once. Sino-U.S. cooperation conforms to the economic laws of U.S. financial capital and helps the United States stabilize inflation and balance its fiscal budget. Sino-U.S. cooperation conforms to operating laws of U.S. advanced technology, and technological R&D advantages must be attached to mass production of end products (depending on the stable demand of the Chinese market) in order to recover R&D investment and dilute R&D costs. The chasm between social classes in the United States can only be addressed by relying on “two main channels” of opening up market efficiency (the development vitality of the elite class) and social equity (a basic safety net for vulnerable groups), rather than turning China into an external “scapegoat.” The division (fragmentation) of global economic governance is a lose-lose game. China and the United States must “turn hostility into friendship,” otherwise they will fall into Thucydides’ Trap and repeat the mistakes of the UK and Germany before World War I. If China and the United States fight each other, both will lose, while Europe and Japan can stand back and watch their rivals weaken each other. Instead, China and the United States can create a “G2” era, which will benefit China, the United States, and the whole world. Therefore, we must smooth the path of dialogue and communication mechanisms at the government level, give objective and neutral explanations of China’s national conditions and China’s plans, uphold win-win thinking (increasing resource game) and abandon zero-sum thinking (fixed-resource game), and search for areas of mutual interests and the greatest common divisor. We must improve the exchange mechanism of think tanks at the academic level, strengthen academic exchanges with think tanks such as the Brookings Institution and the Peterson Institute for International [Economics], counteract the falsehoods of demagogic propaganda, and eliminate the subjective assumptions in the inherent logic of the United States.

中美遵循要素禀赋差异、发挥比较优势,实现两国经济资源配置的帕累托改进,一度造就“中美国”(Chimerica)经济繁荣。中美合作符合美国金融资本的经济规律,助力美国的通货膨胀稳定、财政预算平衡;中美合作符合美国高新技术的运作规律,技术研发优势必须附着终端产品大规模量产(依赖中国市场的稳定需求),方能收回研发投入、摊薄研发成本;美国社会阶层撕裂只能依赖打通市场效率(精英阶层的发展活力)、社会公平(弱势群体的托底保障)的“任督二脉”,而不是把中国塑造为外部“替罪羊”。全球经济治理分裂(碎片化)是两败俱伤的负和博弈,中美必须“化干戈为玉帛”, 否则落入修昔底德陷阱、重蹈一战前英德覆辙。中美鹬蚌相争、两败俱伤,欧日隔岸观火、渔翁得利; 中美缔造“G2”时代,则造福中美、惠及全球。因此,畅通政府层面的对话沟通机制,客观中立阐释中国国情、中国方案,秉持双赢思维(增量博弈)、摒弃零和思维(存量博弈),探寻利益结合点和最大公约数;增进学术层面的智库交流机制,加强与布鲁金斯学会、彼得森国际研究所等智库学术交流,纾解蛊惑性宣传蒙蔽,消除美方固有逻辑的主观臆断。

(2) Improve the rules of global financial governance

(2) 完善全球金融治理规则

First, we must advance reform of the international monetary system. To avoid the inherent defects where a single sovereign currency acts as the international reserve currency, we need an international monetary system in which the “three islands of financial stability” (the U.S. dollar, the euro, and the renminbi) serve as checks and balances for each other. However, this would also involve the problem of high transaction costs, so the ideal choice is still to make Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) into a super-sovereign global currency. Under the framework of the G20, we must substantively promote IMF share adjustment and voting rights reform so that emerging market countries have the right to participate in a fair manner. The SDR currency basket constitutes a dynamic correction covering major economies. We must expand the valuation, settlement and reserve functions of the SDR in international trade, bulk commodities and capital flows, and create conditions for the gradual exchange of SDR and U.S. dollar assets. Second, we must restore the neutrality of SWIFT. A unified international payment communication infrastructure shared by financial institutions is the best choice for the efficient operation of economic globalization. SWIFT should reflect a global organization. At present, there are 21 independent directors (25 in total) on the SWIFT board of directors and all members of the executive committee are from European and North American countries. We should promote the reform of the SWIFT management structure, especially the structural adjustment of the board of directors, and increase the shares and seats of financial institutions from emerging economies. SWIFT should maintain its professionalism to prevent SWIFT from being controlled by individual member states (the United States), and financial sanctions should be implemented under UN Security Council resolutions. Strict authorization and supervision should be required to obtain message information from SWIFT.

一是推进国际货币体系改革。避免单一主权货币充当国际储备货币的内在缺陷,“金融稳定性三岛”(美元、欧元、人民币)相互制衡的国际货币体系, 但也面临交易成本高问题,理想选择仍是将SDR创 造成超主权的全球性货币。应在G20框架下实质性推动IMF份额调整和投票权改革,新兴市场国家拥有公平参与权,SDR货币篮子构成涵盖主要经济体的动态修正,拓宽SDR在国际贸易、大宗商品及资本流动的计价、结算与储备功能,为SDR、美元资产渐进兑换创造条件。二是恢复SWIFT的中立性。金融 机构共享统一国际收付通讯基础设施是经济全球化高效运行的最佳选择。SWIFT 应体现全球性组织,目前SWIFT董事会21名独立董事(共25名)、执委会全部成员来自欧美国家,应推动SWIFT管理机构改革尤其董事会结构调整,增加新兴经济体金融机构的股份和席位;SWIFT 应保持专业属性,避免 SWIFT被个别成员国(美国)控制,金融制裁应在联 合国安理会决议下实施,从SWIFT获取报文信息必须经过严格的授权和监督。

(3) Unswervingly embrace “globalization”

(3) 坚定不移拥抱“全球化”

The logic behind the extreme financial sanctions imposed by the United States on countries such as Iran and North Korea is as follows: The two sides lack connected interests and cannot form “two-way constraints,” and the sanctioned countries are small economies, so their sanctioning has a negligible impact on the global dollar system. Therefore, we should continue to optimize the investment and business environment, enhance the “magnetic field effect” of the Chinese market, maximize our integration into the global division of labor system, and deeply integrate into the global financial governance system. First, we must uphold the “two-way opening up” strategy. We must tighten the supply chain and industry chain linkages between China and the United States and both sides should hold each other’s assets on a symmetrical scale. The mutual penetration of the Chinese and American economies will inevitably weaken the willingness to impose financial sanctions, and there will be second thoughts about large-scale and extreme financial sanctions in particular. Naturally, it would be impossible to cut off [China] from U.S. dollar payment and clearing channels, and it would be even less likely to be removed from the SWIFT system. Second, we must beware of strategic misunderstandings that lead to self-isolation. In an attempt to unite its allies and exclude China, the U.S. has roped in other countries to establish the “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework,” the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the United States, Japan, India, and Australia, the “trilateral security partnership” (AUKUS) with the UK and Australia, the “Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance” with the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and the “Chip 4 Alliance.” However, U.S. allies (such as Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Australia) are deeply connected to China’s economy, and excluding China violates the basic principle of “following the market.” The U.S., Europe, Japan, and South Korea are all at the high end of the global industry chain, with strong economic homogeneity and competition rather than complementarity, so they cannot conceal the temptation to seize China’s huge market. Therefore, on the one hand, we must take measures to control crises and shelve disputes, create a friendly environment of neighborliness, solve the paradox of “security reliance on the United States” in Asia, and resume the China-Japan-Korea FTA negotiation process inspired by historical, cultural, and geographical proximity. On the other hand, we must expand market opening, increase procurement intensity of EU goods, and help stabilize the euro as an opportunity to promote the signing of the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CECAI).

美国动辄对伊朗、朝鲜等极端金融制裁的背后逻辑:双方缺少利益联系无法形成“双向制约”,且被制裁国属于小型经济体,对全球美元体系影响忽略不计。因此,应持续优化投资营商环境,增强中国市场“磁场效应”,最大限度嵌入全球分工体系、深度融入全球金融治理体系。一是秉持“双向开放” 策略。拉紧中美之间的供应链、产业链,双方持有对方资产规模对称,中美经济相互渗透必然削弱金融制裁意愿,尤其实施大规模、极端性金融制裁必然有所顾忌,自然无法切断美元支付清算联系,从SWIFT系统剔除可能性越小。二是谨防诱致落入自我封闭的战略误区。美国拉拢组建“印太经济框架”、美日印澳“四方对话”、美英澳“三边机制”、英美澳加新“五眼情报联盟”、美日韩台“芯片四方联盟”(Chip4)等,企图联合盟友排斥中国。然而,美国盟友(欧日韩澳等)与中国经济深度关联,排斥中国违背“市场追随”基本原则;美欧日韩同处全球产业链高端环节,经济同质性强、竞争而非互补,掩盖不了抢夺中国庞大市场诱惑。因此,一方面,采取管控危机、搁置争议,营造睦邻友好环境,破解“安全靠美国”亚洲悖论,以历史人文和地缘相近为感召, 恢复中日韩自贸区谈判进程;另一方面,扩大市场开放,加大采购欧盟商品力度,助力欧元稳定为契机, 推动签署《中欧全面投资协定》(CECAI)。

(4) Stimulate economic momentum

(4) 激发经济澎湃动力

We must advocate diligent and practical work for the prosperity of the country and “quietly and subtly work” (润物细无声) to build up comprehensive national strength as the magic wand for resisting financial sanctions and external challenges. First, we must win the battle against the COVID-19 epidemic with precision. Our current top priority is to do a good job in the early detection and rapid control of the COVID-19 epidemic and avoid extreme prevention and control measures such as long-term static management of entire regions and nucleic acid testing of all employees, as this will consume huge financial expenditures and cause negative effects such as disruption of logistics supply chains. Second, we must strengthen the functional coupling and optimal combination of fiscal policy and monetary policy. Fiscal policy focuses on fairness and is a targeted regulatory function to optimize structures for the distribution of burdens, while monetary policy focuses on efficiency and is an overall regulatory function for adjusting capital positions. It is necessary to maintain a forward-looking monetary policy. The central bank’s M2 data shows that current market liquidity is reasonably sufficient, and it is still in a situation of debt-driven (macro leverage ratio) growth. It is also necessary to allow fiscal policy to play the mainstay of fiscal policy. Deepening fiscal and taxation reform is good medicine for stabilizing growth, expanding consumption, and increasing investment. The purchase of government bonds (national government bonds, local bonds) and publicly offered REITs through the central bank’s secondary market drive public investment. We should issue consumer coupons targeted to subsidize disadvantaged groups, reverse the decline in consumption and consolidate the achievements of poverty alleviation. Third, we must optimize the national industrial layout and promote the rational allocation of resources and factors. China has a vast territory, differences in production factor endowments, and regional development gradients. It has the synergistic advantages of “Kuznets-Solow growth” (factor-driven), “Smith-North growth” (system-driven), and “Schumpeter-Romer growth” (innovation-driven). The eastern coast focuses on the conversion of new and old kinetic energy from sweat-driven to wisdom-driven, from factor input to innovation-driven, while the central and western regions leverage their factor advantages (manpower, land) to undertake labor-intensive industries. Then, we use countries of origin to send assembly processing links in the manufacturing industry to Southeast Asia and countries along the “Belt and Road” to avoid U.S. tariffs and quota sanctions. Eventually, a “China+” model will be formed from the combination of complementary economic regions such as the eastern coast (innovation-driven), the central and western regions (factor-driven), and the three northeastern provinces (investment-driven), thereby consolidating China’s central position in the global industry chain.

崇尚实干兴邦、“润物细无声”壮大综合国力, 是抵御金融制裁和外来挑战的定海神针。一是精准打赢新冠疫情防控攻坚战。当前首要任务是做好新冠疫情的早发现、快控制,避免全域长期静态管理、全员核酸检测等极端防控措施,从而耗费巨大财政开支、造成物流供应链中断等负面效应。二是加强财政政策—货币政策的功能耦合和优化组合。财政政策侧重公平、承载优化结构的靶向调控功能,货币政策关注效率、调节资金头寸的总量调控功能。既要保持货币政策前瞻性,央行M2数据显示:当前市场流动性合理充裕,仍属债务驱动型(宏观杠杆率)增长;又要发挥财政政策中流砥柱,深化财税改革是稳增长、扩消费和增投资的一剂良药, 通过央行二级市场购买政府债券(国债、地方债)、公募REITs等驱动公共投资,发放消费券定向补贴 弱势群体,扭转消费颓势、巩固脱贫攻坚成果。三是优化全国产业布局、促进资源要素合理配置。中 国版图幅员辽阔、生产要素禀赋差异、区域发展呈现梯度,具有“库兹涅茨-索洛增长”(要素驱动)、 “斯密-诺斯增长”(制度驱动)、“熊彼特-罗默增长”(创新驱动)协同优势。东部沿海侧重从汗水驱动向智慧驱动、要素投入向创新驱动的新旧动能转换,中西部利用要素优势(人工、土地)承接劳动密集型产业,然后利用原产地将制造业组装环节借道东南亚、“一带一路”沿线国家,规避美国关税和配额制裁。最终形成东部沿海(创新驱动)、中西地区(要素驱动)、东北三省(投资驱动)等互补经济区域叠加“中国+”模式,从而巩固全球产业链中心地位。

2.  Compromise strategy: A pragmatic plan to prevent Sino-U.S. decoupling
2. 中策:预防中美脱钩的折中方案

(1) Optimize the foreign exchange reserve investment strategy

(1) 优化外汇储备投资策略

First, we must do a good job of demonstrating the feasibility of the scale of foreign exchange reserves. We must construct a safety assessment and early warning indicator system for the scale of China’s foreign exchange reserves. An appropriate scale of foreign exchange reserves is the ballast for maintaining international trade payments, avoiding sovereign debt defaults, and resisting the impact of speculative capital. Second, we must dynamically adjust the structure of foreign reserves according to the optimal path. On the one hand, we must choose the right opportunity to appropriately reduce our scale of U.S. treasury bond holdings so as to maintain a minimum dollar reserve and weaken their usefulness as a U.S. bargaining chip. On the other hand, simply increasing holdings of currency reserves of developed countries other than the United States (euro bonds, sterling government bonds, yen government bonds, etc.) will not allow us to resist the risk of joint sanctions and we will still face the risk of depreciation (Zhang Ming, 2022). The ideal choice is to put a higher proportion of foreign exchange assets into energy, minerals, and other commodities and strategic reserve resources. Also, we must strip off the “sovereign” imprimatur stamped on gold and moderately increase our holdings of gold reserves.


(2) Do a good job in the orderly withdrawal and filing of Chinese stocks

(2) 做好中概股有序撤退备案

Chinese stocks are a “win-win” institutional arrangement between China and the United States, which enhances the status of the U.S. global capital market and allows U.S. capital to share in China’s economic dividends. If the Sino-U.S. audit supervision agreements finally break down, we should: First, return to the domestic A-shares market. Promote the reform of the registration system, improve the STAR Market, IPO, and delisting mechanisms, issue green channel policies, attract Chinese stocks to return to the domestic A-shares market, and set up an “international board” to attract foreign companies to list in China. Second, turn to Hong Kong for listing. Offshore financial centers are exempted from information disclosures concerning shareholder rights, shareholding ratios, and revenue distribution. Chinese stocks can choose Hong Kong as an overseas listing market, or issue global depositary receipts (GDRs) in international capital markets such as Singapore, Switzerland, and London, allowing them to replace the NASDAQ and NYSE.

中概股是中美“双赢”制度安排,增强美国全球资本市场地位、美国资本分享中国经济红利,如果中美审计监管协议最终破裂:一是回归境内A股。推行注册制改革、完善科创板、IPO 及退市机制,颁布绿色通道政策、吸引中概股回归境内A股上市,同时设立“国际板”吸引外资企业来华上市。二是转赴香港上市。离岸金融中心在股东权利、持股比例、收益分配等享有信息披露豁免,中概股可以选择香港作为海外上市地,或在新加坡、瑞士、伦敦等国际资本市场发行GDR(全球存托凭证),从而替代纳斯达克和纽约证券交易所。

(3) Steadily promote the internationalization of the renminbi

(3) 稳步推进人民币国际化

The internationalization of the RMB follows the process of “settlement currency for trade and capital items → pricing currency for financial transaction item → global reserve currency.” However, as of now, global payment system market share, global official foreign exchange reserve, and SDR currency basket weight data show that the RMB is still a long way from undertaking the responsibility of stabilizing the global currency market. Take multiple measures to steadily promote the internationalization of the RMB: Use the inclusion of A-shares in the MSCI and FTSE and the inclusion of Chinese government bonds and policy bank bonds into Bloomberg Barclays (BBGA) and other global mainstream indices to facilitate the inclusion of Chinese stocks and bonds in the portfolios of foreign investors and encourage overseas institutions to expand the scale of issuing RMB “Panda Bonds” and “Dim Sum Bonds.” The RMB offshore market is the second-best option to release the risk of capital account opening and slow down the cross-border impact of speculative capital under the “dual-track system,” so we should consolidate and improve offshore markets such as Hong Kong (geopolitical advantages), Singapore (ASEAN trade channel) and London (global financial market). Expand the scale of bilateral local currency swap agreements (including extensions and renewals) signed by the central banks of trading partners and substantially promote the use of RMB under the swap agreements. Leverage multilateral mechanisms such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Silk Road Fund (SRF), and the BRICS Development Bank (BRICS DB) to expand the “RMB circle” and cultivate sticky demand for RMB. As the RMB is the only currency that is aligned with global energy, we must leverage our advantage as the world’s largest oil importer to strengthen strategic dialogue with major oil-producing countries such as Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia and sign “oil–RMB” pricing and settlement agreements.

人民币国际化遵循“贸易资本项下结算货币→ 金融交易项下计价货币→全球储备货币”进程,然而截至目前,全球支付系统市场份额、全球官方外汇储备、SDR货币篮子权重数据显示,人民币距离肩负稳定全球货币市场职能甚远。多措并举稳步推进人民币国际化:利用A股纳入明晟(MSCI)、富时罗素(FTSE)及中国国债和政策性银行债券纳入彭博巴克莱(BBGA)等全球主流指数,便利境外投资者配置中国股票、债券等,鼓励境外机构扩大发行人民币“熊猫债”“点心债”规模;人民币离岸市场是“双轨制”下释放资本账户开放风险、减缓投机资本跨境冲击的次优选择,巩固完善香港(地缘政治优势)、新 加坡(东盟贸易渠道)及伦敦(全球金融市场)等离岸 市场;扩大贸易伙伴国央行签署双边本币互换协议 (含展期、续签)规模,实质性推动互换协议下人民币 使用;借助亚投行(AIIB)、丝路基金(SRF)和金砖银行(BRICS DB)等多边机制,拓展“人民币圈”、培育人民币黏性需求;人民币作为唯一与全球能源接轨的货币,发挥全球最大石油进口国优势,加强与俄罗斯、伊朗、委内瑞拉及沙特等主要产油国战略对话, 签订“石油-人民币”计价结算协议。

(4) Improve early warning and monitoring mechanisms for cross-border capital flows

(4) 完善跨境资本流动预警监控机制

We must promptly study and judge reversals of the Fed’s monetary policy and guard against the backflow of capital siphoned by the United States, and effectively address the destructive impact on China’s financial market. First, we must improve early warning mechanisms for cross-border capital flows, select a number of monitoring metrics that reflect the abnormal flow of cross-border capital, achieve the dynamic monitoring of the whole process of data collection, trajectory analysis, and abnormality identification (Chen Hongxiang, 2016), and quickly report large-scale suspicious short-term cross-border abnormal capital flows. Second, we must build a “quarantine zone” and “firewall” to protect against cross-border capital attacks (arbitrage for profit), adopt price tools (forward margins for foreign exchange purchase, levying a “Tobin tax,” differentiated deposit reserve requirements, etc.) to increase the cost of short-term capital cross-border flows, and draw up negative lists (short-term capital account controls, minimum stay period, special review system, etc.) to curb abnormal fluctuations driven by speculative hot money.

及时研判美联储货币政策逆转、谨防美国虹吸资本回流,有效狙击对中国金融市场的破坏性冲击。一是完善跨境资本流动的预警机制,选择若干项反映跨境资本异常流动的监测指标,实现数据采集、轨迹分析、异常甄别的全流程动态监控(陈鸿祥,2016),敏捷反馈大额可疑的短期跨境资本异常流动;二是构筑跨境资本攻击(套汇逐利)“隔离带”和“防火墙”,采取价格工具(远期购汇保证金、 开征“托宾税”、差别存款准备金等)提高短期资本跨境流动成本,列出负面清单(短期资本账户管制、 最短滞留期限、特殊审查制度等)遏制投机热钱异常波动。

3. Last Resort Strategy: Defensive measures to avoid extreme confrontation
3. 下策:避免极端对抗的防御措施

(1) Deploy anti-sanctions strategies with prescience

(1) 前瞻性布局反制裁战略

First, we must improve the framework for blocking laws, following the example of the EU’s Blocking Statute. In 2021, the Ministry of Commerce announced the Rules on Counteracting Unjustified Extraterritorial Application of Foreign Legislation and Other Measures (“Unreliable Entity List”), and the National People’s Congress issued the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law of the People’s Republic of China (to combat “extraterritorial jurisdiction”). In addition, we must seek out Chinese versions of financial sanctions laws that comply with the Charter of the United Nations and prepare to issue laws such as the Act on Countersanction Measures Against Unfriendly Countries. Second, we must strengthen anti-sanction policy research. The Financial Stability Committee of the State Council is responsible for taking the lead and organizing the “one department and two meetings” structure and relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Public Security to study the impact mechanisms of financial sanctions related to Russia and predict and evaluate the risk transmission of potential financial sanctions. Third, we must establish a financial anti-sanctions authority, revise the People’s Bank of China Law, give the People’s Bank of China responsibility for the collection, analysis, disposal, and evaluation of financial intelligence, improve the policy toolbox for emergency situations, and authorize the issuance of executive orders. Fourth, we must improve local credit rating agencies, build a sovereign credit barrier, and prevent international rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s from following U.S. financial sanctions and working together to lower China’s sovereign credit rating, thereby avoiding the dilemma of “artificial technical debt default” despite having solvency (Liu Wei, 2020).

一是完善阻断法律框架,仿效欧盟《阻断法案》,2021年,商务部公布《阻断外国法律与措施不当域外适用办法》(“不可靠实体清单”)、全国人大颁布《中华人民共和国反外国制裁法》(反制“域外管辖”);探索符合《联合国宪章》的中国版金融制裁法律,酝酿出台诸如《针对不友好国家的反制裁措施法案》等。二是加强反制裁政策研究,国务院金融稳委负责牵头,组织“一行两会”及财政部、公安部等相关机构,专题研究涉俄金融制裁的影响机理,预判评估潜在金融制裁的风险传导。三是设立金融反制裁主管部门,修订中国人民银行法,中国人民银行负责金融情报的搜集、分析、处置及评估, 完善紧急状态的政策工具箱,授权颁布行政命令。四是完善本土信用评级机构,构筑主权信誉屏障, 避免标准普尔、穆迪等国际评级机构追随美国金融制裁,共同下调中国主权信用评级,避免拥有偿债能力却陷入“人为技术性债务违约”窘境(刘威, 2020)。

(2) Improve the RMB payment and settlement system

(2) 完善人民币支付清算体系

We must prepare alternative solutions for payment and settlement facilities and international transaction information channels and be wary of extreme sanction measures such as the cutting off of the cross-border payment system by CHIPS or the cutting off of the message conversion channel by SWIFT in order to avoid the paralysis of cross-border transaction business. First, we must enhance the functions of the RMB Cross-border Interbank Payment System (CIPS). We must expand CIPS business capacity, operating time zones, and operation convenience in an orderly manner, add technical function modules and increase network inertia, and form a global cross-border payment settlement and net settlement mechanism. Because CIPS is similar to the New York Clearing House Interbank Payment System (CHIPS), CIPS still relies on SWIFT for cross-border message transmission and creates new standard user groups through SWIFT’s My Standards project platform. Therefore, CIPS’s cross-border financial information communication function is not yet independent. Second, we must explore the digital currency (DC/EP) cross-border payment mechanisms of the central bank. Central bank digital currency based on technical functions such as smart contracts and distributed accounting allows for instant full-amount cross-border payments with peer-to-peer message transmission and no need for agent banks (decentralization), overturning the technical logic behind SWIFT. We must promote the development and testing of the central bank digital currency, expand application scenarios and transaction models in the field of cross-border payments, form the “central bank digital currency bridge” (m-CBDC Bridge) connecting the central banks of many countries, and break SWIFT’s monopoly of global cross-border message transmission. At present, blockchain and big data technologies are still unable to meet the needs of high-intensity and high-frequency transaction scenarios of central bank digital currencies, so we must explore the application of new technologies such as quantum information to the field of cross-border payments.

准备好支付结算设施和国际交易信息通道的备选方案,警惕被CHI PS切断跨境支付系统、 SWIFT切断报文转换通道等极端制裁措施,避免跨境交易业务瘫痪。一是提升人民币跨境支付系统(CIPS)功能。有序拓展CIPS业务容量、运行时区和操作方便,增设技术功能模块、提高网络惯性,形成覆盖全球的跨境支付结算、净额清算机制。由于CIPS类似纽约清算所银行同业支付系统(CHIPS), CIPS跨境报文传递仍然依赖SWIFT,通过SWIFT的My Standards项目平台新建标准用户组,CIPS跨境金融信息通讯环节尚不独立。二是探索央行数字货币(DC/EP)跨境支付机制。基于智能合约、分布式记账等技术功能的央行数字货币,全额即时跨境支付、无需代理银行(去中心化)、点对点报文传输, 颠覆了SWIFT的技术逻辑。推进央行数字货币研发 测试,拓展跨境支付领域的应用场景和交易模式, 形成联结多国央行的“央行数字货币桥”(m-CBDC Bridge),打破SWIFT全球跨境报文传递的垄断地位。目前区块链、大数据技术尚无法满足央行数字货币高强度、高频率交易场景,有待探索量子信息等新技术在跨境支付领域应用。

(3) Conquer independent and controllable core technologies

(3) 攻克自主可控的核心技术

CIPS still relies on U.S. technology software and China UnionPay relies on U.S. BMC software to monitor settlement payment systems and produce bank cards. Therefore, we must be wary of hardware and software security vulnerabilities created by the United States. First, we must strengthen the financial security “firewall.” We must improve the supporting upgrades to purchased hardware (software), strengthen the storage and maintenance of databases and disaster backups located in China, and improve hacker attack location tracking and disaster information recovery technology. We must improve the degree of autonomy of financial infrastructure (key equipment and information systems) and form a replacement plan for using Chinese-made hardware (networks, hosts) and software (databases, operating systems) as soon as possible. Second, we are forced to conquer “stranglehold” technologies. We must create an environment of free exploration for scientific research and innovation, release the innovative potential of scientific research personnel, optimize scientific research performance evaluation mechanisms, and build an original innovation ecosystem chain that advances progressively. We must bargain our scale advantage as the largest market in exchange for global scientific and technological cooperation, attract outstanding students who have studied overseas and recruit top global talents, and lead them to make original and disruptive technological breakthroughs.

CIPS仍然依赖美国的技术软件、中国银联依赖美国BMC软件监控结算支付系统和生产银行卡,等等,谨防美方设置硬件和软件的安全漏洞。一是筑牢金融安全“防火墙”。提高外购硬(软)件的配套改造,强化境内数据库和灾难备份的存储、维护,提升黑客攻击定位追踪和灾难信息恢复技术;提高金融基础设施(关键设备和信息系统)的自主化程度, 尽快形成国产硬件(网络、主机)和软件(数据库、操作系统)的替换方案。二是倒逼攻克“掐脖子”技术。营造科研创新的自由探索环境,释放科研人员创新潜能,优化科研绩效评价机制,构建层层递进的原始创新生态链;利用最大市场规模优势换取全球科技合作,吸引优秀留学人员、招揽全球顶级人才,引领原创性、颠覆性技术突破。

To top

Cite This Page

陈鸿祥 (Chen Hongxiang). "Logical Analysis of U.S. Financial Sanctions and China's Contingency Plans [美国金融制裁的逻辑辨析与中国预案]". CSIS Interpret: China, original work published in Contemporary Finance [现代金融 ], October 10, 2022

FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrintCopy Link