- "We will not consider reactivating those arrangements, unless and until there are clear and robust safeguards."
- Lawyers, activists , journalists and quite a number of Hong Kong residents expressed their opposition to the new law.
- Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary supported her opposite member's move.
The United Kingdom today suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, in retaliation for the new security law imposed on former British colony by China. The measure was announced in Parliament today by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, and will go in to effect immediately.
In addition, an arms embargo, in place against Beijing since 1989, has been extended, and will include other types of equipment that can be used in the repression of the population, such as chains or grenades.
“We will not consider reactivating those arrangements, unless and until there are clear and robust safeguards, which are able to prevent extradition from the UK being misused under the new national security legislation,” Raab stated. According to the Foreign Secretary, the national security law had “significantly changed key assumptions” about the operation of the system.
The law gives mainland Chinese authorities “the ability to assume jurisdiction over certain cases and to try those cases in mainland Chinese courts.” Mr Raab’s move comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised a “tough” but “calibrated” response on Beijing.
The Hong Kong National Security law was passed by the National People’s Congress of China, without going through the Legislative Council of the Special Administrative Region. It imposes life imprisonment for “acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.”
Lawyers, activists , journalists and quite a number of Hong Kong residents expressed their opposition to the new law, fearing that the law would end the freedoms enjoyed by the former British colony. They are non-existent throughout the rest of Mainland China as well.
Hong Kong was returned to China’s sovereignty in 1997, under an agreement that guaranteed the territory 50 years of executive, legislative, and judicial autonomy. The “One China, Two Systems” principle was also applied in Macau, which was returned to Chinese administration from Portugal in 1999.
Raab also reiterated his concern about the violation of human rights against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. He elaborated that the UK is keen on a positive relationship with China, and explained that there is much to be gained for both countries if they mutually work together.
“For our part, the UK will work hard and in good faith towards that goal. But we will protect our vital interests, we will stand up for our values, and we will hold China to its international obligations,” he stated. However, he also stated that the measures announced are a reasonable and proportionate response to China’s failure to respect international obligations to Hong Kong.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy announced that the Labour Party “strongly welcomed” the measures, saying they should lead to a “new era” in the two countries’ relationship. “This must mark the start of a more strategic approach to China based on an ethical approach to foreign policy and an end to the naivety of the ‘golden-era years’,” she told MPs.
“Our quarrel is not with the people of China, but the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong, the actions of the Chinese government in the South China Sea and the appalling treatment of the Uighur people is reason now to act. We will not be able to say in future years that we did not know.”