China has said Hong Kong will suspend extradition treaties with Britain, Canada and Australia, after they took similar steps over the territory’s controversial new security law, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on Thursday.
The foreign ministry spokesman accused the countries of “gross interference in China’s internal affairs”.
New Zealand made the same move after the other three. China said it reserved the right to respond to this too.
The law reduces the city’s autonomy and makes it easier to punish protesters.
“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,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.
“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 Canadian suspended an extradition treaty with Hong Kong after the imposition of the National Security Law that criminalizes virtually all forms of dissent.
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne issued a statement, he said that the government will remove special trade treatments for sensitive exports to Hong Kong and subject any such exports to the same treatment as if bound for mainland China.
He added, “this process demonstrated disregard for Hong Kong’s Basic Law and the high degree of autonomy promised for Hong Kong under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework,” said Champagne in the press release announcing the move.” “Hong Kong’s role as a global hub was built on that foundation. Without it, Canada is forced to reassess existing arrangements.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told journalists following that announcement that the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong is also now prohibited. “Canada is a firm believer in the ‘one country, two systems’ framework,” he said. He added, “We will continue to support the many connections between Canada and Hong Kong while also standing up for its people.”
Global News reported that, there are some 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong.
Hong Kongers without Canadian citizenship do not require a visa to come to Canada. According to the government, they can get what’s known as an electronic travel authorization (ETA) by filling out a form online and paying roughly $7 CAD, and have that granted within minutes of applying.
That ETA allows Hong Kongers to board a flight to Canada, where a government official said they can remain for up to six months or claim asylum at their port of entry.
Joining Canada, Australia too suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong over the national security law. Prime Minister Scott Morrison also announced a five-year extension for current and future work visa holders. After that five-year period ends, those visa holders will be allowed to apply for permanent residency. “There will be citizens of Hong Kong who may be looking to move elsewhere, to start a new life somewhere else, to take their skills, their businesses,” Morrison said.
Morrison said there are 10,000 Hong Kong citizens in Australia on student visas or temporary work visas.
The United Kingdom
According to a report by Hindustan Times, the Boris Johnson government on Monday escalated its ennui with China following Beijing’s recent enactment of a security law for Hong Kong by suspending the extradition treaty with it “immediately and indefinitely” and banned the export of items related to suppressing riots.
London’s latest action follows last week’s ban on Chinese company Huawei, high-profile expression of concern over the reportedly repressive treatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province of China, and previous offer of a path to UK citizenship to Hong Kong citizens holding the British National (Overseas) passports.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab announced the suspension in the House of Commons: “I have consulted with the Home Secretary, the Justice Secretary and the Attorney General, and the government has decided to suspend the extradition treaty immediately and indefinitely”.
“And I should also tell the House that we would not consider re-activating those arrangements, unless, and until clear and robust safeguards which are able to prevent extradition from the UK being misused under the national security legislation”, he added.
London is also extending to Hong Kong the arms embargo that is in force on mainland China since 1989.
In addition to the U.K., Canada and Australia, seven countries represented in the alliance — the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Britain and the United States — have such agreements. Nearly a dozen other countries, including India, Singapore and Malaysia, also have extradition deals with Hong Kong.