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China says Hong Kong to halt extradition treaties with UK, Canada, Australia

A man reads a newspaper on the edge of a promenade overlooking Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong
A man reads a newspaper on the edge of a promenade overlooking Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong Anthony WALLACE AFP
2 min

China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Hong Kong’s government would suspend agreements on mutual assistance for criminal matters, including extradition, with Britain, Canada and Australia.

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Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily briefing that the decisions taken by the UK, Canada and Australia earlier this month to suspend extradition agreements with Hong Kong over a new security law for the city constituted a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.

China’s latest move came after New Zealand announced earlier on Tuesday that it had suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes following China’s decision to pass the national security law for the territory.

“New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong’s criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China,” New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said in a statement on Tuesday.

“If China in future shows adherence to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework then we could reconsider this decision.”

Beijing imposed new legislation on the former British colony earlier this month despite the protests of Hong Kong residents and Western nations, setting the financial hub on a more authoritarian track.

Peters said New Zealand will treat military and dual-use goods and technology exports to Hong Kong in the same way as it treats such exports to China as part of a review of its overall relationship with Hong Kong.

Travel advice has been updated to alert New Zealanders to the risks presented by the new security law, he added.

In a website statement, the Chinese embassy in New Zealand called the decision a violation of international law and gross interference in China’s internal affairs.

“The Chinese side has lodged its grave concern and strong opposition,” an embassy representative said in the statement.

China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner, with annual two-way trade recently exceeding NZ$32 billion ($21 billion).

New Zealand’s ties with China have frayed recently after the pacific nation backed Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Organization (WHO).

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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