China has long prevented many American internet giants from providing services within its borders, and it has placed tight strictures on how other American technology firms can operate. The enormous commercial potential of the Chinese market made it hard for the companies to put up much of a fight as Beijing declared, in effect, that their business interests were subservient to China’s national security interests.
First line is clear to me, but the second line creates confusion. From "The enormous commercial potential of the Chinese market made it hard for the companies to put up much of a fight as Beijing declared", I understand that there is a lot of business potential for US companies in China and thus they didn't object much to the restrictions imposed by Chinese government. After this I am completely lost. I can't understand second line as a whole.
Can anyone please explain me this? Can we replace "in effect" with any other term? What does "in effect" mean exactly in this context?