Canada warns citizens new HK law poses risk of 'arbitrary detention'

Ottawa (AFP) –


Canada warned its citizens in Hong Kong on Wednesday that they faced a higher risk of arbitrary detention and extradition to mainland China after Beijing imposed a new security law on the city.

The warning illustrates Western governments' heightened concern for citizens under the new law that criminalizes subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.

"You may be at increased risk of arbitrary detention on national security grounds and possible extradition to mainland China," Canada wrote in an updated travel advisory.

In response, China said Canada's actions were "completely unreasonable."

"Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs, no foreign country should interfere," foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a routine briefing.

Relations between Ottawa and Beijing are at their lowest point in years, following a row over the fate of arrested nationals.

Canadian former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were both detained nine days after Canada arrested Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou following an American extradition request.

The two men have been held largely incommunicado since December 2018 and slapped with spy charges weeks after a Canadian judge ruled that extradition proceedings against Meng will go ahead.

Beijing has made little secret of the fact that the two men's fates are tied up with Meng's.