UK suspends Hong Kong extradition treaty in rebuke to China

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives for a COBRA meeting at 10 Downing street in central London on April 9, 2020.

OLGA AKMEN | AFP via Getty Images

The U.K. has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong amid rising tensions with China over its new national security law in the former British colony.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced in a speech to the House of Commons on Monday that the treaty would be suspended until further notice. The move comes amid widespread condemnation of Beijing’s security law, which stipulates that acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion are punishable by life sentences, following a prolonged period of pro-democracy protests in the city.

The U.K. has also offered visa rights to 3 million Hong Kong citizens in the wake of the bill’s passage, with western powers accusing China of clamping down on the city’s autonomy. Beijing has denied violating international law and accused the U.S. and U.K. of trying to destabilize the region by meddling in Chinese affairs.

The treaty, which has been in place for more than 30 years, means someone presently in Hong Kong who is suspected of a crime in the U.K. can be handed over to face justice at the British government’s request, and vice versa. The U.S., Canada and Australia have all suspended similar treaties since the imposition of the new security bill.

Relations between London and Beijing have continued to sour on multiple fronts, inflamed further last week by the U.K.’s decision to ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from the country’s 5G network.

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