The UK announced Monday the suspension of the country’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong for an indefinite period. This comes in response to the Hong Kong National Security Law recently enacted by China.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the law is a “clear and serious violation” of the UK-China Joint Declaration and China’s other international obligations. Articles 55-59 of the law particularly bothered him as they give mainland Chinese authorities the ability to have jurisdiction over certain cases and to try those cases in mainland Chinese courts. He said, “The national security law does not provide legal or judicial safeguards in such cases, and I am also concerned about the potential reach of the extraterritorial provisions.”
The minister expressed the British government’s desire to have a “positive, constructive, mature, and reciprocal” relationship with China. But, while striving for such a relationship, he said they must also safeguard the vital interests of their country and they will not compromise their national or domestic security. Additionally, he expressed his serious concerns about human rights violations against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. In his concluding remarks, he condemned China for not holding to its international obligations and said that this suspension is a “reasonable and proportionate” response.
In response to the suspension, China said that the affairs of Hong Kong are internal affairs of China, and the UK should not interfere. The statement further said, “The UK will bear the consequences if it insists on going down the wrong road.”
Australia and Canada have already suspended their extradition treaties with China.