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The UK to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong due to China’s new security law

PHOTO CREDITS: ANDREW PARSONS/AP

According to CNN, the United Kingdom has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong due to China’s new security law in Hong Kong. ~

The UK has also extended its arms embargo to include Hong Kong; the embargo has applied to mainland China since 1989 (Sky News). According to the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, the extension is also noted to include any equipment which may be used for internal repression (Sky News). Mr. Raab said that the UK sought a “positive, constructive,” and reciprocal relationship with China, but the new security law was a “clear and serious violation of the UK-China Joint Declaration” (CNN). ~

The extradition treaty allowed someone in Hong Kong who was suspected of a crime in the UK to be tried in the UK, and vice versa (BBC). UK officials are concerned that the new security law – which allows Chinese authorities to assume jurisdiction over certain cases and try them in mainland Chinese courts without legal safeguards – will abuse the extradition treaty. The UK has already taken other steps to address the new law, such as working to make a path for citizenship for up to 3 million Hong Kong citizens. ~

The suspension of the treaty was praised from all sides of the House, though some wanted further action (BBC); Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament (MP) Alistair Carmichael wanted action on Chinese imports, especially surveillance equipment, while Scottish National Party MP Margaret Ferrier suggested sanctions against individuals responsible for human rights violations (BBC). Tory MP Tobias Ellwood has requested a “strategic overhaul of [the UK’s] foreign policy in relation to China” (BBC). There are concerns that the suspension will sour relationships with China, especially as the UK government decided to block Huawei, a Chinese company, from the UK’s 5G networks (Sky News). Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Webin echoed these concerns, urging Britain to “stop going further down the wrong path” (Sky News). ~

ARTICLE: DANIEL ENGLAND

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