In response to action over China’s national security law, Hong Kong to suspend extradition treaty with UK, Canada, Australia

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Srinagar: Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, in a strongly worded statement, said that Hong Kong’s government will suspend extradition treaties with Britain, Canada and Australia, in response to their actions over the territory’s controversial new security law, news organisation BBC reported.

Addressing a daily briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that the three countries’ decision to suspend their respective extradition agreements with Hong Kong over the new security law for the semi-autonomous city constituted a “gross interference” in China’s internal affairs, a Tribune India report read.

Earlier when New Zealand made the same move after the other three countries, the ministry said that it reserved the right to respond to this as well.

Soon after suspending the extradition treaty with China, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peter said China had “eroded rule-of-law principles, undermined the ‘one country, two systems’ framework that underpins Hong Kong’s unique status,” and that the country had “gone against commitments made to the international community,” the BBC report read.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wand Wenbin told BBC: “Judicial co-operation has been politically manipulated by Canada, Australia and the UK – a wrong move that damages the conditions for such co-operation and deviates from its purpose of upholding justice and the rule of law.”

He added, “therefore China has decided that the Hong Kong special administrative region will suspend its agreements of surrendering fugitive offenders and of mutual assistance in criminal matters with Canada, Australia and the UK.”

The three countries, along with New Zealand and the US, comprise the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

The Trump administration has signalled that it plans to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong soon.

Hong Kong’s government asserts that the widely criticised law is required to bring order to a city that saw massive pro-democracy protests last year which often turned violent.

Under the 50-year agreement, China enshrined civil liberties, including the right to protest, freedom of speech and the independence to the judiciary in Hong Kong’s Basic Law. The approach became popular under the phrase, “one country, two systems.”

The new security law, passed this year on May 28, significantly curbs Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status.


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