The U.K. has suspended its extradition treaty and blocked arms sales to Hong Kong following China’s passage of the national security law, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced Monday.
Raab told the House of Commons that the decision would last indefinitely until there are “clear and robust safeguards which are able to prevent extradition from the U.K. being misused,” citing the possibility Chinese Communist Party could use its new law to extradite prisoners from Hong Kong to the mainland.
The United States, Canada and Australia have already stopped their extradition treaties with Hong Kong, according to the Associated Press. Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece the Global Times weighed in on the recent announcement, saying countries that end extradition agreements “may face greater risks, as those fugitives who violate the law in Hong Kong could flee to countries like the UK, which will likely become a crime haven.”
✅ – Extending the arms embargo that applies to China to Hong Kong.
✅ – Suspending our extradition treaty with Hong Kong indefinitely
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) July 20, 2020
Raab also extended the U.K.’s 1989 arms sale ban with China to include Hong Kong. Raab said arms sales included equipment that could be used for “internal repression,” such as firearms, shackles and smoke grenades.
The U.K.’s ban on arms sales to China was placed after of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, according to the South China Morning Post.
Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have at times turned violent in the past 10 months. (RELATED: China Says US Is Using ‘Gangster Logic’ In Response To Hong Kong Security Law That Punishes Subversion)
The U.K. maintains it has a historic commitment to the people of Hong Kong since signing the Sino-British Join Declaration with China in 1984. The agreement was meant to allow Hong Kong to keep its democratic government as an autonomous city of China until 2047, according to the South China Morning Post. Chinese officials have stated in the past that it is a “historical document” with “no practical significance,” according to Reuters.
Relations between the two countries have been deteriorating in recent weeks, prompting the U.K. to ban Chinese tech giant Huawei. Besides China’s national security law, recent reports allege that the Chinese government has been building concentration for the minority Uighur population in the northwest part of the country. Britain has also offered visas to over 3 million Hong Kong citizens who could possibly leave the city should their individual situations make living there dangerous.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Chinese Ambassador to the U.K. Liu Xiaoming said the new national security law is “targeted against a very small group of criminals who intend to endanger the national security.” He also claimed the Chinese Communist Party had an approval rating of 93 percent, and that “Hong Kong people enjoy unprecedented freedoms after the handover for the past 23 years.”
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