China's Ministry of Commerce rejected the notion that xenophobia is behind the country's current anti-monopoly probe, saying foreign-funded and domestic companies are both equal before Chinese Law.
The anti-monopoly investigation is an important part of the government's move to promote fair competition and protect consumer rights, Shen Danyang, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, said during a regularly scheduled press conference.
"Launching an investigation into monopoly-like behavior is a common practice internationally," Shen said, "we are not just targeting foreign-funded companies."
He said all market players, be it foreign-funded or domestic, will be punished if they violate the law.
"Before the Anti-monopoly Law, all enterprises are equal and there is no such thing as xenophobia," he said, nothing both domestic and foreign firms have been probed following the establishment of the Anti-monopoly Law six years ago.
His comments come as complaints were lodged by foreign chambers of commerce about China's anti-monopoly investigations into foreign-funded companies of top brands such as Microsoft, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Shen stressed the important and positive role foreign-funded enterprises have played since China's reform and opening-up during the past three decades, saying a majority are law-abiding.
"Foreign-funded enterprises won't be scared back to their own country because of the (anti-monopoly) investigation cases," he said.
He refuted speculation that the decline in China's foreign direct investment (FDI) was related to the ongoing anti-monopoly investigations, saying "groundless speculation is completely unnecessary."
FDI into the Chinese mainland fell sharply in July, slumping 16.95 percent from a year earlier to 7.81 billion U.S. dollars, compared with a minor 0.2-percent increase seen in June, according to MOC data.
For the first seven months, the FDI, which excludes investment in the financial sector, stood at 71.14 billion U.S. dollars, down 0.35 percent from the same period last year.