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China suspends Hong Kong treaties with UK, Canada, Australia

July 28, 2020

The territory's extradition treaties with Canada, Australia and the UK have been halted by China. The three countries suspended their treaties with Hong Kong after Beijing introduced a controversial new security law.

Hong Kong and Chinese flags in Hong Kong
Image: Reuters/T. Siu

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

The move comes after Britain, Canada and Australia announced similar decisions earlier this summer in response to Beijing's passing a controversial new security law for Hong Kong. Under the bill, China increased its jurisdiction in the semi-autonomous territory.

Britain, Canada and Australia together with the US and New Zealand form the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing alliance.

New Zealand announced earlier on Tuesday it is also suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and US President Donald Trump has ended preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong.

Countries used security bill as 'an excuse'

"The wrong action of Canada, Australia and the UK in politicizing judicial cooperation with Hong Kong has seriously hurt the basis of judicial cooperation," foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a press briefing.

The three countries used the introduction of the national security law as "an excuse to unilaterally announce the suspension of extradition treaties" with Hong Kong, added Wang.

China reserves the right for further reaction on New Zealand's decision, reported Reuters news agency citing China's foreign ministry.

China had previously threatened the UK with "consequences" for ending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

Read more: Opinion: China is looking to challenge the US

Heightened tensions

Tensions have been growing in recent months between China and several countries, fueled by numerous issues.

Chinese authorities on Monday entered the former US consulate in the provincial capital Chengdu after it was ordered shut in retaliation for the US closing the Chinese Consulate in the Texan city of Houston last week. The US cited espionage and intellectual property theft as reasons for the closure.

Earlier in July, the UK followed the US in banning all 5G network equipment produced by the Chinese tech giant Huawei from the country's 5G network.

kmm/rc (reuters, AFP)

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