China will pass a law to combat punitive sanctions imposed by Western nations such as the U.S. and the UK.

China's top legislative body says the antisanction law will give the country substantive legal backing in its imposition of retaliatory measures against punitive sanctions.

A draft was passed at the opening meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. It is expected to pass at the conclusion of the session Thursday.

State news media said Tuesday the law was to counter the growing economic pressures placed on the country by the U.S. and its allies over issues such as Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Broadcaster China Central Television said it would give the government a legal basis to impose retaliatory measures to counter foreign sanctions.

China said the law was necessary to combat "unjustified" foreign actions against its citizens and businesses. Officials said China companies had been unfairly treated overseas and the law would defend the nation's interests.

Officials have been working on the "Counteracting Unjustified Extraterritorial Application of Foreign Legislation" since the start of the year. It has been described as a "robust response" to the U.S.'s "long-arm jurisdiction" used to prosecute foreign entities.

The China law will allow parties affected by foreign sanctions to report damages to the country's commerce ministry and file lawsuits for compensation.

"Now the international situation is getting more and more critical and the U.S. often deviates from international law in dealing with China. I believe that the new law will allow Beijing to hit back, regardless of whether its rivals are following international law or not," Song Sio-chong, a professor at Shenzhen University's Centre for Basic Laws of Hong Kong and Macao, said.

Dozens of China companies have been targeted by the U.S. - including some of the top players in industries such as telecommunications, robotics, semiconductor manufacturing and surveillance.

The Biden administration recently named 59 China companies to be included in its investment blacklist. The companies have been accused of having ties to the China military.