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?

  • Is it just in effect you have a problem with (it means what it normally means) or is it "the second line as a whole"? If it's still more than a particular word or phrase, you need to be more specific in terms of identifying the concept or part of grammar that's confusing. If you put a period after fight and start another sentence with Beijing, does it help? May 22, 2019 at 9:22
  • I have problem in understanding second line as a whole, and I think it's because I can't get a clear meaning of "in effect". Putting the period after fight didn't help. Thanks.
    – shiva
    May 22, 2019 at 9:43
  • The link in my first comment shows that in effect means "in substance : VIRTUALLY // the … committee agreed to what was in effect a reduction in the hourly wage." But it's also parenthetical information—so it can simply be removed from the sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence. May 22, 2019 at 9:52
  • So Beijing explicitly declared that "in reality" their national security was more of an important concern. Is it correct?
    – shiva
    May 22, 2019 at 10:02
  • 3
    @shiva - no, not explicitly. "In effect" means it was implicit, not explicit.
    – AndyT
    May 22, 2019 at 10:33

1 Answer 1


The second sentence is making two points, and it's a bit confusing that they put them both in the same sentence, as they're not really directly related.

The first point is that American businesses put up with China's tight restrictions because there's so much business opportunity there.

The second point is that China apparently has all these restrictions to make it clear that their national security interests are more important than the business interests of these companies. "in effect" means that they don't state this explicitly anywhere, it's just the obvious implication.

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