China suspends Hong Kong’s extradition treaties with Canada, Australia and the UK

Two more people had fallen ill after returning from visits to Wuhan, raising the total number of cases in Hong Kong to seven. PHOTO: ST. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BEIJING, Jul 29, 2020, China Daily. China announced on Tuesday the suspension of Hong Kong’s extradition treaties with Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom as a reciprocal move following similar decisions made by those countries, China Daily reported.

“The wrong action of Canada, Australia and the UK to politicize judicial cooperation with Hong Kong has seriously undermined the basis of their judicial cooperation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular news conference.

“China has decided that the HKSAR government will suspend agreements for the surrender of fugitive offenders between Hong Kong and Canada, Australia and the UK, as well as agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters,” Wang said.

He accused the three countries of having used the National Security Law for Hong Kong as an excuse to unilaterally suspend the agreements. Such a move constitutes gross interference in China’s internal affairs and China firmly opposes that, he said.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government also expressed strong objections to the move on Tuesday, saying it smacks of political manipulation and double standards, according to a government news release.

The HKSAR government will, as always, uphold the principle of mutual assistance and reciprocity, and carry out law enforcement cooperation with other members of the international community in accordance with the law, it said.

On Tuesday, New Zealand announced it will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, making it the latest member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance to act on Hong Kong-related issues.

The “Five Eyes” alliance comprises Australia, the United States, the UK, Canada and New Zealand. The US had previously decided to revoke Hong Kong’s special trading status.

Wang said that China opposes New Zealand’s move and reserved the right to respond. Any plan to suppress China will never prevail, he said.

“China urges New Zealand to immediately correct its mistake, and stop all forms of interference in Hong Kong affairs and other internal affairs of China, to avoid harming bilateral relations,” he said.

New Zealand’s unilateral suspension of the treaty using the pretext of the National Security Law for Hong Kong is for a “political purpose”, an HKSAR government spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“Every country has laws and a duty to safeguard its national security and sovereignty. In New Zealand, examples include the Intelligence and Security Act and the Crimes Act 1961,” said the spokesperson. New Zealand’s decision will harm itself by making it “a haven for fugitives”, the spokesperson said.

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