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HK slams US for suspending tax and extradition agreement

August 20, 2020

Beijing has called on the US to "immediately correct its mistakes" after it terminated bilateral agreements with Hong Kong. Trump said he wanted to punish China for what he called "oppressive actions" against the city.

Hong Kong, Chinese flags
Image: Reuters/T. Siu

The Hong Kong government on Thursday criticized Washington's decision to suspend extradition and tax exemption treaties with the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. 

Following in the footsteps of Australia, Canada, and the UK, the US on Wednesday suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong as well as a bilateral agreement on income derived from the international operation of ships.

"The US' unilateral decision reflects its disrespect for bilateralism and multilateralism under the current administration and should be condemned by the international community," the statement said.

Hong Kong maintained that the bilateral agreements did not entail any preferential treatment and said they were negotiated to benefit both parties. 

Read more: Why is Germany silent on China's human rights abuses?

"The HKSAR Government strongly objects to and deplores the US ' action, which is widely seen as a move to create trouble in the China-US relationship, using Hong Kong as a pawn," it added. 

US ends bilateral agreements 

The US State Department announced earlier that the three agreements Washington ended covered "the surrender of fugitive offenders, the transfer of sentenced persons, and reciprocal tax exemptions on income derived from the international operation of ships."

The decision followed US President Donald Trump's order in July to end Hong Kong's special status under US law to punish Beijing for what he called "oppressive actions" against the semi-autonomous city.

Trump signed an executive order that he said would end the preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong after it imposed the new security law, which has been widely viewed as an attack on the city's "one country, two systems'' framework.

China hits back

In response to Washington's decision to end the agreements, China's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Hong Kong will suspend an agreement on mutual legal assistance with the US.

The agreement, signed in 1997 before the UK returned Hong Kong to China, outlined that the US and Hong Kong governments would help each other in criminal matters such as transferring people in custody or confiscating proceeds of crime.

"China urges the US to immediately correct its mistakes," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a news briefing as he announced the suspension of the agreement on legal assistance.


mvb/ng (AP, Reuters, EFE)