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20 Jul, 2020 16:53

UK suspends extradition arrangement with Hong Kong ‘immediately and indefinitely’ over new national security law

UK suspends extradition arrangement with Hong Kong ‘immediately and indefinitely’ over new national security law

The UK has “immediately and indefinitely” suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong in reaction to China’s new national security law there, amid rising tensions between Beijing and London.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the House of Commons on Monday that China’s “imposition” of a new national security law in Hong Kong was a “serious violation” of its international obligations. He also said that an existing arms embargo on mainland China will be extended to Hong Kong. 

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The national security law was introduced in Hong Kong in June, outlawing secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces. Britain says it breaches the agreement it had made with China when it returned Hong Kong to Beijing in 1997, and that it threatens the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle that gives Hong Kong a level of autonomy. 

“The imposition of this new national security legislation has changed key assumptions underpinning our extradition treaty arrangements with Hong Kong,” Raab said.

Under the extradition agreement, a person in the UK who is wanted to stand trial for a crime in Hong Kong would be sent back there, and vice versa. Australia, the US and Canada have also suspended their extradition arrangements with Hong Kong. 

The UK said it would offer three million Hongkongers a path to citizenship as a result of the national security law, which sparked Western-backed protests in the territory when it came into effect. China has accused Britain of “gross interference” in its affairs and said on Sunday that there would be a “resolute response” if the UK withdrew from the extradition arrangement. 

Also on rt.com China warns UK to avoid going ‘further down the wrong path’ with Hong Kong interference over expected extradition suspension

Speaking earlier on Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a press briefing it was urging London to “take no more steps down the wrong path, so as to avoid further damage to China-UK relations.”

Relations between the two countries have frayed recently, as a result of the UK’s concerns about Hong Kong and the alleged state human rights abuses of the Uighur population in China. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week it would no longer use Chinese company Huawei in its 5G network, prompting China to accuse the UK of having “lost its independence and self-decision.” 

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